Si.mobil v European Commission (T-201/11) – ‎Undermining the Effectiveness of EU Competition law?

si.mobilPablo Figueroa and Catherine Derenne[1]

“”That’s very important,” the King said, turning to the jury.  They were just beginning to write this down on their slates, when the White Rabbit interrupted:  “Unimportant, your Majesty means, of course,” he said in a very respectful tone, but frowning and making faces at him as he spoke.

“Unimportant, of course, I meant,” the King hastily said, and went on himself in an undertone, “important—unimportant—unimportant—important—” as if he were trying which word sounded best.”

(L. Carroll:  “Alice in Wonderland”)

According to the Automec case-law (paras. 73 ff), the European Commission has discretion as to how it deals with complaints.  That said, the Court of Justice of the European Union has clearly stated that the Commission’s discretion when rejecting complaints is not “unlimited” (Ufex and Others v. Commission, para. 89).  Regulation 1/2003 awarded to the Commission two additional grounds under which to dismiss cases.  Pursuant to Article 13, the Commission can dispose of complaints where “one authority is dealing with the case” (13(1)) or where a complaint “has already been dealt with by another competition authority” (13(2)).

In late 2014, the General Court has issued a Ruling in the context of the Si.mobil case interpreting the first of these provisions in a way which further enhances the Commission’s “not unlimited” discretion when rejecting complaints (the “Si.mobil Ruling”).  More specifically, the General Court endorsed the Commission’s deference to the National Competition Authorities of the EU Member States (the “NCA”s).  In our view, in doing so, the General Court allowed the Commission to abdicate from its constitutional Role of Guardian of the Treaties and to disregard the effectiveness of the Competition provisions in those Treaties.

Moreover, the Si.mobil Ruling was issued in the context of a broader series of Rulings which further enhance the Commission’s discretion when rejecting complaints (See Alexiadis, P. and Figueroa, P., “Commission Discretion Unchained”, Competition Law Insight, 17 March 2015).  Indeed, the Si.mobil Ruling becomes particularly surprising in the light of a series of unambiguous and repeated statements of the Commission in relation to the institutional failures of certain NCAs.  Note for example the Speech of former Vice-President Almunia in May 2014 where he expressed concerns in relation to the lack of resources and independence of certain NCAs.

The Si.mobil Ruling hinged on the interpretation of Article 13(1) Regulation 1/2003, according to which, “[t]he Commission may […] reject a complaint on the ground that a competition authority of a Member State is dealing with the case”.

On 14 August 2009, Si.mobil telekomunikacijske storitve d.d. filed a complaint before the Commission against Telekom Slovenije d.d. (“TS”), the incumbent mobile operator in Slovenia, for an alleged abuse of TS’ dominant position consisting, inter alia, in margin squeezes and predatory pricing.  On 24 January 2011, the Commission rejected the complaint mainly on the grounds that the Slovenian NCA (the “UVK”) was already dealing with the case.

The Commission’s case rested on the proposition that Article 13 of Regulation 1/2003 should be interpreted in such a manner that the mere fact that an NCA claims to be dealing with a case is sufficient, in and of itself, to enable the Commission not to take the case (Commission Decision Si.mobil / Mobitel, Section 2(1)).  Under the Commission’s interpretation, even in scenarios with an effect on trade between Member States, and thereby meriting the application of the EU Competition rules, as long as such NCA claims to deal with, for example a margin squeeze case, which tends to be resource-intensive to investigate, the Commission is obliged to relinquish jurisdiction.

However, such a proposition involves a dramatic re-assessment of the Commission’s role as regards the exercise of its jurisdiction in relation to subject-matter which falls within the exclusive competence of the Union, and thus has far-reaching implications for the Community’s legal order.  By de facto completely disregarding the general legal principle of “effectiveness” from its decision to assert jurisdiction to apply European law, the Commission undermines the very foundations of the Treaties whose application is entrusted to ensure pursuant to Article 17 of the Treaty on the European Union (the “TEU”). Continue reading

EU referendums and renegotiations

Maria Kendrick

The last referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union was forty years ago, neither within the memory nor the lifetime of a significant number of those eligible to vote this time around – which notably will not include the youngest, 16 and 17 year olds. Since then, dissatisfaction with the European Union has been evident amongst its citizens. The Economist recently dated this attitudinal change back to at least 1992, when the French narrowly approved the Treaty of Maastricht in a referendum.  One of the many explanations proffered for this change is the impact of political populists, such as UKIP, in influencing voters. In the same article in The Economist Catherine Fieschi, Director of Counterpoint, is identified as suggesting that a consequence of the rise of populists is the increase in “Coliseum Politics” such as the grand gesture referendum. Although UKIP has not achieved any great success in Parliamentary elections, it appears to have achieved the credit (or blame depending on your point of view) for causing concern amongst the Conservative Party of possible inroads into Tory constituencies and for making the question of Europe loom large, again, in the Conservative Party itself. Hence David Cameron’s Bloomberg speech and subsequent election manifesto promises of a referendum and legislation to guarantee it is conducted.

The populist party or Eurosceptic argument, which is now well versed, centres around a dislike – so it would say – of being dictated to by Brussels and paying a hefty budget contribution which the British taxpayer can ill afford, only to be subject to European laws it does not want. Despite the reticent tone of history, for example from Professor John Mackitosh MP who appeared in the BBC’s referendum results coverage in 1975, to opine that referenda are contrary to the parliamentary system and are therefore unfortunate. Even in the recent House of Commons debates on 7 September 2015 on the European Union Referendum Bill itself, a well known constitutional law historian and academic was quoted as saying that referendums are used where it is thought that the Parliamentary system cannot provide the required level of legitimacy. Paradoxically, both politicians and lawyers alike are citing the preservation of Parliamentary sovereignty as the reason for supporting Brexit whilst at the same time backing the use of a referendum because of a lack of legitimacy in the parliamentary system.

Whatever the political motivation, the election of a majority Conservative government has precipitated developments in the legal situation. The European Union Referendum Bill was swiftly published following the Queen’s Speech. It initially worded the question as Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union? This was considered to be too one sided for the Electoral Commission, which has proposed that the question be changed toShould the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? to which its suggested options for responses are “Remain a member of the European Union” or “Leave the European Union”listed in that order. This wording was subsequently accepted by the Prime Minister. The ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps have become the ‘remain’ and ‘leave’ camps.

In addition to the focus on the wording and layout of the referendum question some of the legal technicalities of the provisions of the European Union Referendum Bill have developed a particular significance of their own. It is not difficult to see why. In 1975 the referendum result was an overwhelming ‘Yes’ to the union, with a majority vote of 70% in favour of continued membership being returned in most regions throughout the UK. The ‘leave’ camp appear convinced that this was due to the large disparity in the capabilities,- or rather, resources – between themselves and the opposing campaign. Both the establishment and big business, which then acted in cohort in support of Britain’s membership, are reported to have outspent the ‘no’ campaign by twelve to one.  A concern to avoid history repeating itself has prompted the fervour of debate on purdah, which has been seen recently in the House of Commons. The ‘leave’ camp expressed concern that if the legislation allowed them to be outspent again, they would surely lose and this would undermine the public’s faith in the outcome. The role of BBC journalists in asking businessmen and women questions (even if inadvertently) in interviews on subjects unrelated to Europe as to the future of their business should there be a vote to leave the EU was discussed by John Redwood in an impassioned speech. Essentially, any possibility of an implied use of government resources in the purdah period (up to 28 days before polling day), however tenuous, has been criticised for compromising the legitimacy of the result. Those in the ‘leave’ camp – comprising MPs from all political parties – were keen, if not to have the law drafted in their favour, to avoid having it drafted in their disfavour – all in the name of democracy of course. When it came to it, the government was significantly outvoted on this issue. Continue reading

Greece: My two (euro)cents

CormacCormac Mac Amhlaigh

Greece is obviously at the forefront of many EU scholars’ minds over the past number of weeks. There has been an avalanche of commentary and analysis on the Greek bailout negotiations both from those with intimate knowledge of the situation and familiarity with Greek politics, the EMU and sovereign debt crises as well speculation from the sidelines from those of us more ignorant of these matters.  Therefore as someone whose credibility in the debate (such as it is) is limited to the expertise of the constitutional lawyer with a good familiarity of EU law generally, I have limited my two (euro)cents on the topic to a number of (mostly factual) propositions related to the crisis for what they are worth. Most I think are obvious and (hopefully) few are contentious but I think that they are worth (re)stating in the context of the war of words and recrimination from all sides present in the debate in recent days.

  • Greece went bust. The fallout from this was never going to be pretty. There were going to be losers, including losers in Greek society, whatever happened.
  • Debt relief in some shape or form has been part of Troika negotiations at least since 2012.  This includes, significantly from the viewpoint of commentary in some media, debt relief on money owed to private investors who took a significant ‘haircut’ on their investments in 2012 as well as other means of extending Greece’s loans and lowering interest rates to lighten the debt burden.    I will not comment as to whether debt relief should have been more prominent in negotiations now or before or whether private investors should/could have lost more on their investment other than to say that at least some private creditors should be counted amongst the losers of the crisis.
  • Losers generally complain and protest – it doesn’t mean that they have been dealt with unjustly.  I will not comment on whether the actual losers in the Greek crisis were the ‘right’ losers and/or whether they have been treated unfairly.
  • There is a strong case for a moral duty for all involved to mitigate the effects of Greece’s bankruptcy on the most vulnerable in Greek society.  I will not comment on whether this was actually achieved or could have been achieved more effectively.
  • Greece is a first world country. Even within the Eurozone there are poorer countries and more vulnerable people than Greece/Greeks, not to mention globally.
  • The Eurozone is not a (federal) state.
  • No country (or at least no pre-1995 accession country) was forced to join the eurozone. Even if we accept the argument that eurozone membership benefits one or one group of member states more than others – and is not entirely clear that it does – each EU Member state has to take responsibility for bringing its country into the eurozone.
  • There are 19 democracies in the Eurozone.  It is arguable  that this is perhaps too many. As the Eurozone negotiations revealed, what was possible in negotiating Greece’s latest package was contingent upon whether eurozone representatives had/could gain the support of national MPs in national governments and/or national public opinion.  This arguably made the bailout negotiations much more complex and acrimonious than they might otherwise have been.
  • It is a truism that the eurozone was badly designed; although this may not have become so apparent so quickly had the global financial crisis not happened when it did. What this debacle has taught us is that the euro cannot live on rules alone.  We have known this for some time ever since the eurozone states beginning with Germany started to breach the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact. Therefore further and deeper reforms to Eurozone governance are necessary and should be inevitable beyond drafting and attempting to enforce new fiscal disciplinary rules. There are many possible reforms, here are three:
    • Establish a new permanent mechanism to off-set the inability of individual eurozone economies to deal with major shocks due to their loss of monetary and fiscal sovereignty through some sort of fiscal transfer fund or otherwise.  The ESM operates too much like an international organisation like the IMF, involving conditionality and MoUs. This model is unsuited to the more integrated condition of Eurozone states.
    • Establish independent EU financing through EU taxation to finance this fund.
    • Make the eurozone accountable to one democracy rather than 19 – i.e. the European Parliament so that EU taxpayers, as represented through the European Parliament, rather than national taxpayers, represented in national parliaments, shoulder the burden of bailouts (but only where absolutely necessary).

These proposals will require a(n) (even) greater sense of solidarity between Eurozone states than has been displayed since the eurocrisis began. However, it will need to be found, and quickly, if the euro is to survive.

The CJEU’s Response to the German Constitutional Court in ‘Gauweiler’

juropean-justiceProf Herwig Hofmann

This post originally appeared on the europaeus site and is re-produced here with permission.

Do exceptional situations make exceptionally good or exceptionally bad law? This is an old question often asked anew – especially in the context of the post-2008 economic crises travails of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The legal disputes which resulted from differing opinions about how to solve the crises and also how, incidentally, to improve the EMU’s governance have reached the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The most prominent case to date is the so-called Gauweiler case, a preliminary reference procedure initiated by the German Constitutional Court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht (BVerfG). I discuss this case in more fully argued working paper available on SSRN, ‘Gauweiler and OMT: Lessons for EU Public Law and the European Economic and Monetary Union‘.

Gauweiler concerns the legality of the decision of the Governing Board of the European Central Bank (ECB) of September 2012 on so called ‘Outright Monetary Transactions’ (OMT). This case is significant for legal integration in the EU since, although it is the first instance in which the German BVerfG has ever taken advantage of the preliminary reference procedure (Article 267 TFEU), the reference by the BVerfG was formulated in very terse words. Essentially, the reference asks for clarification about the legality of the ECB’s OMT decision. But that reference is not formulated in terms of a dialogue between Courts, each respecting the other’s distinctive powers. Instead, the BVerfG explains why it considers the ECB’s decision to be ultra vires of its mandate and asks the CJEU essentially to confirm this interpretation warning about potential consequences in its assessment of the ‘constitutional identity’ of the Federal Republic of Germany. Inherent in the reference is a thinly veiled threat not to accept the exclusive competence of the CJEU to review the legality of EU law and, instead, to unilaterally hold an act of an EU institution to be invalid within a Member State of the EU. The BVerfG reinforced its sceptical position of the primacy of EU law over the law of Member States by recalling in its decision for preliminary reference its case-law concerning the limits it perceives are set for the Federal Republic of Germany’s integration in the European Union. In its decision, it refers to and further interprets the scope of its own case-law making reference inter alia to its judgments concerning the Treaty of Maastricht, the Treaty of Lisbon and in Honeywell, as precedent for its questions to the CJEU. Continue reading

Reform of the EU’s Court System: Why a more accountable – not a larger – Court is the way forward

Alberto Alemanno and Laurent Pech

Recent media coverage of the EU Court of Justice suggests that the period of ‘benign neglect by the powers that be and the mass media’ – once described by Professor Eric Stein – may well be truly over once and for all. The most unexpected aspect of this rather unique level of media attention is that it does not directly concern any particular judicial ruling by a Court, which, since it decided its first case in 1954, has issued more than 28,000 judgments and orders. Instead, the Court of Justice (CJ) and its President, Mr Vassilios Skouris, have been subject to unprecedented media scrutiny following intense internal infighting about a contentious proposal which officially aims to ‘reinforce the efficiency of justice at EU level’ by doubling the number of judges working at the General Court (GC).

Before offering a review of the CJ’s diagnosis and critically assessing the solutions defended by its President, it may be worth briefly recalling that the GC – initially known as the EU’s Court of First Instance – was set up in 1989 to help the CJ cope with its increasing workload. To help in turn the GC cope with a similar issue, the first EU specialised ‘judicial panel’ was set up in 2005: Known as the EU Civil Service Tribunal (CST), the jurisdiction is exclusively limited to disputes between the EU and its civil servants and consists of 7 judges. By contrast, both the CJ and the GC currently consist of 28 judges, with one judge from each Member State. The CJ is however also assisted by nine Advocates-General.

The Court of Justice’s diagnosis

The casus belli, which has prompted the current debate about the EU’s judicial architecture, is the increase in the number of new cases brought before the GC (from 398 in 2000 to 912 in 2014); the stock of cases currently awaiting to be decided (1,423 in 2014 and expected to rise to 1,600 in 2015); and finally, the increasing number of actions for damages brought against the EU due to the excessive length of proceedings before the GC on the basis of Article 47 of the EU Charter, which guarantees a right to have cases heard within a reasonable time.

While increasing workload is not in itself a new phenomenon – and has indeed been a recurrent problem for both the CJ and the GC – the latter’s growing workload has been seen as particularly worrying. Indeed, in addition to a rapid increase in the number of cases before it, the GC’s productivity has decreased despite an increase in the number of both judges (due to the Union’s enlargement) and their legal assistants known as référendaires (see howeverhere for a recent update from four GC judges where it is submitted that 80% of the GC’s backlog has now in fact been liquidated and that in the first four months of 2015, the number of completed cases exceeded the number of new cases filed).

In parallel to these distressing trends, the situation has begun to worsen as well with respect to the CST due to the rather childish inability of the Member States to fill two vacant slots since September 2014 – out of a total of seven as previously noted – following persistent disagreement about how the principle of rotation should be implemented.

The Court of Justice’s latest solution

In 2011, the CJ initially refused to consider the creation of new specialised courts – a solution which at the time was favoured by the GC itself – and suggested instead the appointment of 12 extra judges at the GC. However, following persistent disagreements between the Member States on how to rotate the appointments between themselves, this preliminary solution was removed from a package of reforms to the Statute of the Court of Justice.

This led the President of the CJ to suggest last October the progressive doubling of the number of GC judges (from 28 to 56). However, to mitigate the economic burden engendered by the proposed doubling, the abolition of the CST was also suggested – with its seven judges expected to move to the GC – and a gradual implementation of the reforms, with an initial increase of 12 judges in 2015; a further increase of 7 in 2016 following the dissolution of the CST and the transfer of its case-load to the General Court; and finally, a last set of 9 additional judges to be appointed in 2019. The proposed abolition of the CST was something of a surprise as most observers consider it a success story and indeed, it has been presented as such by President Skouris himself on the occasion of its 5th Anniversary.

Be that as it may, the CJ’s proposal would therefore ‘only’ result in the net creation of 21 extra judges, at an alleged net cost of €13.875m per year, assuming that there are 7 judges working at the CST in 2016. While this amount does not appear to take into account the €168m for the construction of a new tower, an expense which is however justified by the need to ‘repatriate’ staff who have been working in prefabricated buildings since 1999, the economic cost of the CJ’s proposal may be viewed as relatively modest. One may for instance compare this estimated cost to the total amount of damages currently claimed against the EU on the basis of Article 47 of the EU Charter, i.e., €26.8 million. The economic importance of the cases heard by the GC is also such that the cost of the CJ’s proposal is not a significant argument one may raise against it. We argue however that the solution put forward by the President of the CJ (and recently endorsed by the Council) is not adequate both from a structural and sustainability point of view.

Critical Assessment

As nicely summed up by our colleague Steve Peers, supporters of the CJ’s solution have relied on the following arguments to support the proposal to progressively double the number of GC judges:

  1. It would be a more flexible solution than the creation of specialised courts to the extent that litigation may increase in areas not initially foreseen and that cases most suitable for specialised courts tend to be repetitive and easy to deal with;
  2. Keeping such cases closer to the CJ would also make sense considering that the CJ may have to deal with similar cases via national references for a preliminary ruling;
  3. The appointment of new judges to the GC could be done swiftly and would also avoid any pork-barrel politics should the specialised courts not consist of a judge per Member State (as has been the case with the CST);
  4. Finally, the CJ’s solution would have the singular advantage of simplifying the EU judicial system.

These are sound arguments but unfortunately none of them are, in our view, empirically substantiated. The lack of any proper prospective impact assessment of the CJ’s proposal is, in this respect, particularly regrettable. Similarly, one may deplore the top-down, not to say authoritarian, approach adopted by the President of the Court, which suggests a deliberate attempt to avoid any meaningful discussion of reasonable alternative proposals, such as the establishment of specialised courts with jurisdiction to hear and determine direct actions in a specific area. The CJ’s proposal also marks a shift away from the principle of specialisation – endorsed by the Masters of the Treaties and set to materialise into the creation of subsequent specialised chambers, such as in trademark litigation (representing around 1/3 of the GC’s workload) – towards a generalist jurisdiction made up of two judges per each Member State.

As for the argument raised against the principle of specialisation – to avoid creating a court with a ‘rigid’ jurisdiction that might not be justified in the light of future workload – well, the same argument could actually be invoked against the creation of a ‘super-GC’ whose future caseload is unlikely to double in the near future. This is especially true given the limited access to justice in direct actions currently granted by the Treaty as interpreted by the CJ. More critically, we submit that the doubling of GC judges is an unnecessary distraction from less visible and arguably more decisive issues such as case management and productivity per personnel unit. Those challenges, if tackled properly, would most likely bring long-lasting benefits to the institution without entailing a radical restructuring of the EU’s judicial system.

We therefore propose to step back from what has become a largely emotive and not always evidence-based debate in order to gauge whether an alternative diagnosis and set of reforms should not be in order. Continue reading

Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?

“Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

A reminder that the Electoral Commission is undertaking consultation on this proposed referendum question. Previous research confirmed that it was clear and straightforward for voters, but due to the time that has passed since determining this, the Commission has been undertaking further research. If you would like to give your views, email them at or write to them at:

The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row

However – you will have to be quick: in order for your views to be part of their assessment process, it has to arrive by Friday 19 June 2015.

Case comment: the UK Supreme Court’s Rotherham judgment

Brown_K_146174_rtChristopher Brown

(This post originally appeared on the UK Supreme Court blog.)

On 25 February 2015, the Supreme Court handed down its judgments in R (Rotherham Metropolitan BC and Ors) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills [2015] UKSC 6. The subject-matter was the allocation of European Structural Funds. Hardly a topic to get the pulse racing, you might think, but the judgments in fact contain important dicta, and differences of view, as to the role of the courts in reviewing decisions concerning one of the core functions of the State, namely the (re-)distribution of money.

Continue reading

Debating Europe’s justice deficit

GDB imageGráinne de Búrca

On Thursday June 4th, at LSE, a debate was held between Justice Giuliano Amato of the Constitutional Court of Italy (former Italian Prime Minister) and Professor Christian Joerges of the Hertie School of Government to launch the publication by Hart Publishing of a new collection of essays on Europe’s Justice Deficit?‘, edited by Dimitry Kochenov, Gráinne de Búrca and Andrew Williams.

Christian Joerges launched the debate by reflecting on the EU’s origins, and on the strong influence of German ordo-liberal economic theory in the creation and design of the European Economic Community.  He explained an ordo-liberal legal framework as one which “privileges and constitutionalises a private-law society”; and which treats as ‘just’ whatever a system of undistorted competition delivers.  He asked the audience whether the EU’s institutional design and its ordoliberalism-inspired “integration through law” agenda has been an obstacle to the pursuit of justice instead of a means of fostering it. Citing the various challenges which have been made to this ordo-liberal vision by writers such as Fritz Scharpf, Jürgen Habermas and Wolfgang Streeck, he emphasised the democratic and social embeddedness of markets and their dependence on other institutions for their capacity to deliver justice, and doubted whether the EU in its current form has that capacity.   Moving on to the writings of John Rawls and Thomas Nagel on the scope of justice, and on the difficult question of whether ‘justice between states’, and particularly any form of redistributive justice,  is really possible, he posed the question: “what are the Greeks entitled to expect from the Germans?” The EU is better understood, he suggested, in terms of ‘inter-democracy’ (to use a term derived from Daniel Innerarity’s work) rather than being thought of as itself a democratic system.

On the current crisis, with its politics of austerity and governance-by-troika, Joerges argued that the kind of interventionist European economic and financial management we have seen in recent years is actually far removed from the ordo-liberal vision, in its reliance on discretionary power rather than justiciable rules.   Finishing on an understandably gloomy note, he suggested that while the EU’s crisis management may well destroy southern European economic cultures, the social and institutional resistance of these cultures means that it will nevertheless be unable to replace them with some other top-down model of economic governance.

Giuliano Amato, in response, struck a more positive tone.  While his analysis of Europe’s ills shared much in common with that of Christian Joerges, particularly as far as the current state of EU affairs is concerned and the inadequacy of its political institutions and fiscal capacity to support the economy, he presented both a more positive vision of the EU’s original model as well as a more forward-looking set of suggestions for how to move the EU beyond its current state of crisis, discontent and injustice.   He began with the question whether it was indeed appropriate to apply the standards of justice which are generally applied to a nation state to an entity like the EU, or whether a functionally limited economic system could only be appraised by some other standards.  In other words: what kind of entity is the EU, for the purpose of considering questions of justice?   Continue reading

Europe’s justice deficit?

Gráinne de Búrca

The ‘justice question’ is becoming increasingly important in the EU.  With the lives of so many in the European periphery dramatically affected by the policies of austerity, widely perceived to be EU-imposed; with the Court of Justice appearing to stand for its own authority and EU autonomy at any cost; with migrants attempting to reach fortress Europe and drowning en masse as the EU cuts back its rescue services; and with economic inequalities in the Member States reaching new heights, could it be that there is a justice deficit in Europe, exacerbated by the European Union?

The volume ‘Europe’s Justice Deficit?’ co-edited by Dimitry Kochenov, Andrew Williams and Gráinne de Búrca explores this question. The volume is premised on the basis that it is  appropriate to talk about justice in the context of the EU legal and political system; and that questions of justice and injustice in the EU context have not yet (with some notable exceptions) been the subject of much analysis and discussion either by academics or by political and institutional actors.

The first assumption builds on the idea that the scope of justice applicable to the EU should be considered broadly rather than narrowly:  justice should not be associated only with the State. The standards to be applied to particular organizations or polities should reflect the nature of their goals and the extent of the impact their decisions have on the lives of their constituents or those outside their borders. The EU and its institutions have assumed considerable power and influence within and beyond its Member States. Its daily actions substantially affect the interests of individuals, corporations and states, and it possesses significant capacity to address injustice both within its boundaries as well as externally.

The editors and contributors to this book suggest that it is time to think critically about the existence and nature of a perceived justice deficit in Europe, its possible implications for Europe’s future, and to open a discussion about the ways in which such a deficit might be addressed. The book is intended as a first step in this direction.

Events: Europe’s Justice Deficit: Debate and Book Launch and a Conference on the EU and the Rule of Law

The following events may be of interest to EUtopia readers:

A debate between Justice Giuliano Amato, Constitutional Court of Italy (Former Prime Minister of Italy) and Professor Christian Joerges (Hertie School of Government)

Is the European Union a just political and legal order? Does the EU undermine the pursuit of justice by its Member States? Have scholars and policy-makers paid sufficient attention to questions of justice in the EU context?

This debate marks the launch of Europe’s Justice Deficit (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2015), co-edited by Dimitry Kochenov, Gráinne de Búrca and Andrew Williams. The three editors and numerous contributing authors to the volume will join the conversation following the debate.

June 4, 2015, London School of Economics and Political Science; 3–6pm, room 32L.G.03 (on the South side of the Lincoln’s Inn Fields), followed by a reception.

RSVP to Sarah Lee.

Monitoring and Enforcement of the Rule of Law in the EU: Rhetoric and Reality

18th of June, London (Ashurst LLP).

The conference is co-organised by Laurent Pech, Jean Monnet Chair of EU Public Law Professor at Middlesex University and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.

The conference aims to bring officials, practitioners and academics together to reflect on the recent mechanisms put forward by the European Commission and the Council of the EU to more effectively uphold and safeguard the rule of law within the EU. Alternative proposals for new rule of law instruments originating from other institutions, organisations and academia will also be explored.

Further information about the programme and registration can be found here.