The rise of EU law enforcement authorities - Protecting fundamental rights and liberties in a transnational law enforcement area


The EU deals with new criminal threats through the creation of EU law enforcement authorities (ELEAs). ELEAs are entrusted with the power to investigate infringements of EU law, impose punitive sanctions, and/or refer cases to national authorities for further prosecution. Their legal design is decentralized and integrated into the legal regimes of the Member States. As differences between national regimes exist, conflicts of law, deliberate circumvention of safeguards (forum shopping) or races to the bottom may lead to arbitrary interferences with the liberty, privacy, and property of individuals. This is precisely what fundamental rights aim to prevent within the nation-state. Yet in a transnational context, the content and scope of these rights are ill-defined.

This project aims to 1) analyse how fundamental rights and liberties are currently integrated into the legal ELEA frameworks, 2) clarify what role these rights and liberties should play in this new, transnational setting, and 3) define what legislative recommendations follow from this for ELEA designs. Two PhD studies focus on ELEAs in the areas of the protection of the financial interests of the EU (PhD1: OLAF and Eurojust) and the supervision of financial markets (PhD 2: European Central Bank and the European Securities and Markets Authority). Using a comparative law methodology, the research team will first analyse the law in action. Through a mutual comparison of the two policy areas and a comparison with the legal orders of Germany and Switzerland, as well as through integrating results from sociological and governance studies, the team will then define what role fundamental rights should play in ELEA frameworks, and make legislative recommendations. Ultimately, this project will clarify how the law can help to prevent arbitrary interferences with fundamental rights in a new, transnational setting of law enforcement.


Book or monography


  • proefschrift: beoogd
  • proefschrift: beoogd

Chapter in book

  • MJJP Luchtman, J.L. De la Cuesta(2016): Protection of the environment through criminal law pp. 221 - 234 , Antwerp
  • MJJP Luchtman, V. Franssen, K. Ligeti(2017): Challenges in the Field of Economic and Financial Crime in Europe and the US pp. 191 - 209 , Oxford

Scientific article

  • MJJP Luchtman(2016): Kroniek van het Europees strafrecht Nederlands Juristenblad pp. 1044 - 1053

Publications for the general public


Project number


Main applicant

Mr. dr. M.J.J.P. Luchtman

Affiliated with

Universiteit Utrecht, Faculteit Recht, Economie, Bestuur en Organisatie, Strafrechtswetenschappen (Willem Pompe Instituut)

Team members

K.H.P. Bovend'Eerdt LLM, K.H.P. Bovend'Eerdt LLM, A.M. Karagianni LLM, Mr. dr. M.J.J.P. Luchtman


18/11/2015 to 17/11/2020