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REGGOV Lausanne 2018: Regulation between Effectiveness and Legitimacy

A large contingent of the CRN on Effective Enforcement of EU Law and Policy travelled to the University of Lausanne, Switzerland in July to attend and present at the biennial conference of REGGOV. It was a very busy but intellectually stimulating few days with plenty of opportunities for members to meet face-to-face, present their exciting research and make plans for future. The CRN Co-ordinators, Melanie Smith and Sara Drake (Cardiff) organised a panel for the event entitled ‘Assessing the effectiveness of regulatory enforcement in the EU: In search of an interdisciplinary approach’ at which they presented their individual research papers on the EU’s enforcement policy, and the enforcement of the EU Passenger Rights Regime respectively, and hosted papers by CRN members, Isak Vento and Kanerva Kuokkanen (Helsinki) on the effectiveness of the EU’s Cohesion Policy in Finland. Members of the CRN also organised and presented at two sister panels on ‘Institutional innovations in the field of enforcement in the EU’ showcasing the results of important research on European Administrative Networks (Ellen Mastenbroek, (Radboud) and Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen and Reini Schrama (Copenhagen), EU Agencies and their Direct Enforcement powers (Miroslava Scholten (Utrecht)), and Networked enforcement and the European Fisheries Control Agency (Mariolina Eliantonio (Maastricht) and Federica Cacciatore (Tuscia)). Elsewhere Wendy Kennett (Cardiff), presented research undertaken on models of civil enforcement of judgments across Europe, and Lorenzo Marvulli (Cardiff) presented his work with Stijn Smismans (Cardiff) on Risk Regulation and Risk Governance comparing administrative practices in the UK and EU.

The 2018 REGGOV conference brought together 240 scholars from all over the world with 63 panels giving members an opportunity listen to the latest research on a wide variety of topics on regulation and governance. Highlights included the panel on algorithmic regulation chaired by Karen Yeung (Birmingham) which focused on the questions of legitimacy of algorithmic regulation when transferring from the paradigm of military and security planning to, for example, social welfare decision making. The connection between public services using algorithms bought from third parties with no understanding of the algorithm’s workings was highlighted from a number of policy perspectives including, in particular, policing. Research on the effectiveness (never mind legitimacy) of algorithmic regulation is still at a very early stage, nonetheless policy makers appear to embracing this as a cost efficient way of doing business.

At such an auspicious gathering of scholars who all focus on multiple aspects of regulation and governance including enforcement, it was appropriate for the CRN to hold its inaugural research meeting in order to explain the rationale behind the initiative, to attract new members, and to discuss future events and collaboration including a workshop to held at Cardiff in 2019.

The CRN Co-ordinators are delighted to welcome Christoph Klika (Duisburg-Essen), Esther van Schagen (Utrecht) and Viviane Gravey (Queen’s University, Belfast) to the network. Christophe and Esther are researching the effective enforcement of EU law and policy in relation to REACH and consumer policy respectively, and Viviane’s work relates to the enforcement of EU law in the context of devolution in Northern Ireland and Brexit.

The CRN Co-ordinators also took part in a roundtable discussion initiated by Judith van Erp (Utrecht) and chaired by Colin Scott (UCD) on ‘Strengthening the impact of European research on enforcement’. Other panellists includes CRN member, Miroslava Scholten (Utrecht), and Kai Wegrich (Hertie School of Governance, Berlin). The roundtable discussion focused on the main challenges in compliance and how scholars might better engage stakeholders (i.e. regulatees, the regulator, and interested third parties) with regulatory and compliance scholarship. It was clear that there is a vast difference in national academic environments and the type of institutional support that researchers can expect in developing what in UK academia would be termed ‘impact’ or ‘engagement’ activities. Utrecht University appears to be ahead of the game in offering Executive courses where regulators come to share experiences and discuss common problems of compliance within their various organisations, as such opportunities are not widely found in UK academia. Cardiff University offers EU-Exchange Wales led by Rachel Minto through the Wales Governance Centre. It brings together scholars from a range of disciplines, European Commission officials, civil servants from Welsh Government, and regulatees from different sectors, to exchange knowledge and ideas on EU topics including the implications of Brexit in a devolved context. It acts as an important forum for scholars to interact with those implementing EU law and policy on a day-to-day basis, and for civil servants to keep up-to-date with the latest thinking in scholarly research. Ideas for the future ranged from embedding the teaching of enforcement into the curriculum and developing accompanying teaching materials, to establishing a ‘Community of Practice’ for those engaged in the craft of regulation.

The final session of the conference was a book discussion again chaired by Colin Scott (UCD) where CRN member, Miroslava Scholten also presented her book Law Enforcement by EU Authorities: Implications for Political and Judicial Accountability (Edward Elgar, 2017) co-edited with Michiel Luchtman and both based at RENFORCE, Utrecht Centre for Regulation and Enforcement in Europe. CRN Co-ordinator, Sara Drake (Cardiff) acted as the discussant. The book brings together 30 scholars and practitioners who analyse eight EU Agencies (DG COMP, Directorate-F on food law, Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), European Medicines Agency (EMA), European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Central Bank (ECB) and the soon to be established European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). The book analyses their monitoring, investigating and sanctioning powers, termed ‘direct enforcement’ powers, vis-à-vis private actors as well as their relationships with national enforcement bodies.

The key research question addressed by the book is whether the proliferation of EU agencies with these some or all of these direct enforcement powers is accompanied by sufficient mechanisms for political and judicial accountability.

Equally fascinating were the two other books showcased at the panel. Veronique Wavre’s from the University of St. Gallen’s book on Policy Diffusion and Telecommunications Regulation (Palgrave MacMillan, 2018) with Francesa Pia Vantaggio (University of California, Davis) acting as discussant. Based on her Wavre’s PhD, the book presents fascinating and unexpected data on regulatory reforms and policy diffusion in Morocco, Jordan and Egypt in relation to telecoms and Universal Service Obligations. The third book, Policy Shock: Recalibrating Risk and Regulation after Oil Spills, Nuclear Accidents and Financial Crises (CUP, 2017) was presented by one of the co-editor’s, Jonathan Wiener (Duke University), with Claudio Radaelli (Exeter) as discussant. It explores post-crises regulatory policy-making through an analysis of the responses of regulators from the US, EU and Japan to crises across the 20th and 21st centuries. So three varied but interesting books for your summer reading list!

The conference was productive for members of the CRN on Effective Enforcement on EU Law and Policy on many levels. The CRN Co-ordinators would like to thank everyone who participated in the panel and inaugural meeting, and are looking forward to the next event at the UACES 48th Annual Conference in Bath, UK, from 2-5 September 2018.

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