EPPO for Dummies: Federal Prosecutor goes to court

By Tom, Cameron & Kees

The EU has for many years legislated in the field of criminal law creating judicial cooperation between the Member States based on mutual recognition and establishing minimum rules regarding procedure and certain serious crimes. However, the investigating and prosecuting of crimes has always remained the exclusive competence of the Member States. In a few years time, however, this will change with the introduction of the EU’s own prosecution service – The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). The establishment of a European Prosecution Service raises a lot of questions for citizens in the EU. What crimes can EPPO prosecute for? What measures could EPPO take in its investigations? Will my rights be protected under this new system? These are all highly relevant questions and therefore this blog post will outline how the establishment of this new office will affect persons in the EU by looking at the different stages of a future EPPO investigation and prosecution.

Click here to see which Member States are part of EPPO

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Visions of Frontex: Transparency as the source of accountability.

By Lina & Luka

On October 17, 2013 a chartered flight from Rotterdam, the Netherlands to Lagos, Nigeria returned eighteen Nigerian citizens to their home State. These so-called returnees were all subject of individual removal orders from different EU Member States. Usually Member States organise such a return operation individually, it can however also decide to organise a return operation which is open to the participation of other Member States. The Member State can then inform the national authorities of other Member States, which in turn can decide to participate in the joint flight. The return operation then becomes a Joint Return Operation (JRO). These JRO’s are coordinated by Frontex , a decentralised agency of the EU which was originally established by Council Regulation (EC) 2007/2004. Regulation (EU) 2016/1624 revamped Frontex, dubbing it the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

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CCP Supervision Proposal: More ESMA Powers but no Accountability?

By Andrea & Mathias

The new Commission proposal on CCP supervision aims to resolve some accountability issues. However, it also creates some. But the draft legislation is not beyond repair.

In June 2017, the Commission issued a proposal for a regulation to amend the EMIR and ESMA regulations in an attempt to improve the supervision of Central Counterparties (CCPs). CCPs are independent financial institutions that act as intermediaries between the buyer and seller of a security. While ESMA has considerable supervisory, regulatory and enforcement powers in relation to the derivatives market, authorisation and supervision of CCPs has primarily remained a Member State Competence.

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EPPO for Dummies: The EPPO goes forum shopping

By Senta & Nerea

When you hear the term forum shopping, you might think of spending a fun afternoon at the mall. But in fact, this concept is about something much more serious. In order to explain this, let us conduct a little mental exercise.

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Frontex+: An Institutional Odyssey

By Hidde, Hans, Anca & Agustina

Due to the migrant crisis, Frontex was involved in strengthening the Bulgarian-Turkish border in 2016. For this reason this EU agency deployed border surveillance officers, patrol cars, thermovision vans and dog teams. This was done with the aim of detecting persons who were trying to enter the EU illegally, for instance by hiding in cars, buses and trains.

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European Aviation Safety Agency and the Germanwings-crash

By Michael & Juliëtte

Exactly two years ago, March 24th 2015, flight 4U9525 took off from Barcelona airport, on its way to Düsseldorf. The first 44 minutes of the flight passed without any irregularities. Whilst flying above the French Alps, however, the Germanwings’ aircraft began an unexplained descent. The airbus eventually crashed into a mountain hillside, leaving all 150 passengers dead. After the incident, various news sites reported that the incident was caused by the co-pilot, who had shut the first pilot out of the cockpit and deliberately crashed the aircraft. It was later revealed that the co-pilot had a history of mental illness, which was known by the aeromedical centre that declared him fit for service. Apart from a reopened debate on the confidentiality relationship between patients and doctors in a case like the Germanwings-crash, this last fact has also started discussion about the national and European supervision that is executed on those aeromedical centres. What is the role of these supervisors regarding the Germanwings-incident, and in what ways could they be held accountable for this?

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ESMA: power comes with responsibility

By Klea, Janneke & Elissavet

ESMA stands for European Securities and Markets Agency, located in Paris. This agency forms part of a broader framework of financial supervision known as the European System of Financial Supervision. ESMA’s main task is to ensure stability of the financial markets in the EU, and does this by protecting investors through assessing potential risks. The systemic risk of failure of banks and the overt financial markets are mainly assessed through the Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs) and Trade Repositories (TRs). ESMA has extensive supervisory and enforcement powers to make sure that CRAs and TRs operate in a transparent and fair manner. This extensive granting of powers was seen to be necessary after the financial crisis hit Europe in 2009, where it was found that further integration and supervision of financial markets was needed. Seen as CRAs play a vital role in the decision for investments and were not previously regulated in a strict manner by Member States, ESMA stepped in. The same goes for the importance of TRs. With such extensive powers it becomes ever more so important that matters of legitimacy and accountability are dealt with appropriately. This blog will dive into the judicial accountability of ESMA and how this works out in a recent fine imposed by ESMA to one of the three biggest credit rating agency worldwide.

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