Shared enforcement but separated controls in the EU – how to make it work for democracy and the rule of law?


Enforcement powers, such as searching offices and seizing documents, have become increasingly shared between EU and national supervisors. Since 2008, the number of EU supervisors has doubled - from three (1962-2004) to seven (2008-2013) - and three additional EU supervisors may appear shortly. However, EU and national systems of control remain strictly separated: national parliaments and courts for national supervisors, EU parliaments and courts for EU supervisors. This results in gaps in democratic and judicial controls. No parliament or court has a grip over all necessary (preparatory) acts and responsible supervisors. EU and national supervisors can point fingers at each other and escape accountability. Individuals, companies and the public will be left empty-handed. This undermines democratic and rule of law values. I propose to elaborate a normative framework (legal models and recommendations) to remedy the flaws in controls, a framework that fits this recent yet rapidly becoming accustomed phenomenon. To investigate how shared enforcement is organised concerning all seven EU supervisors, I will analyse an existing legal framework. To dig into the relationship between EU and national supervisors and laws, I will make two in-depth case studies supported by field research into one EU supervisor per distinguished functional group and relevant national counterparts. To identify the existing gaps in control and develop a normative framework, I will combine the so far separated literature streams on accountability, judicial protection and mixed administration of enforcement in the EU and compare my findings on individual supervisors. To promote the viability of the normative framework, I will involve experts and stakeholders to scrutinize my results. To facilitate the implementation of recommendations, I will connect all relevant groups via a discussion platform and closing conference. The flaws in controls will ultimately negatively affect all of us.


Scientific article


Project number


Main applicant

Dr. M. Scholten MSc

Affiliated with

Universiteit Utrecht, Faculteit Recht, Economie, Bestuur en Organisatie, Departement Rechtsgeleerdheid

Team members

Dr. M. Scholten MSc


01/09/2016 to 29/02/2020