Volume 16 (2010) / Issue 4
Melanie Smith, 'Inter-institutional Dialogue and the Establishment of Enforcement Norms: A Decade of Financial Penalties under Article 228 EC (now Article 260 TFEU)' (2010) 16 European Public Law, Issue 4, pp. 547–570
This article is concerned with the system of enforcement of Member State obligations in the European Union (EU). It will focus upon the final limb of the enforcement system, the financial sanctions, and will evaluate its evolution since the initial judgment against Greece in 2000. The discussion will centre upon the behaviour of the two key institutions in the enforcement process, the Commission and the Court of Justice, by analysing the practice and policy of these institutions. It will argue that the Commission and Court have had to devise an enforcement policy in a unique regulatory system, which is a regulatory system where the legislator has provided no guidance to the institutions responsible for the execution of enforcement policy as to its objectives or methodology. This regulatory gap has produced some interesting inter-institutional dialogue between the Court and Commission that has not occurred in the earlier phase of the enforcement process, despite a similar lack of legislative guidance. The inter-institutional dialogue has increased the transparency and efficiency of imposing financial sanctions, which has moulded it into a potentially significant deterrent to non-compliance. Deploying this approach in the earlier phase of the enforcement process could significantly increase the transparency and efficiency of the macro system of enforcement.
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