New online event: Judicial review of complex assessments in the EU: competition law and risk regulation – 22 June 2020 – 15:00-16:30

Event description

Complex assessments have long represented the Pillars of Hercules of judicial review. When reviewing legal acts based on complex evaluations, courts have traditionally adopted a deferential approach, acknowledging a wide margin of discretion to the decision-maker. In several continental legal traditions, this goes under the label of “technical discretion” and is justified on the grounds of both contextual expertise and separation of powers considerations. Although the CJEU does not explicitly refer to the doctrine of technical discretion as such, it has long operated along similar lines across different policy domains. Things may however be changing, and complex assessments seem to have become less and less immune to judicial review, across different policy domains.Recording of ACELG-ACLE seminar ‘Judicial review of complex assessments in the EU: competition law and risk regulation’

In competition law, first judgments such as Consten and Grundig (1966) held that judicial review of complex economic assessments carried out by the Commission needs to “confin[e] itself [only] to an examination of the relevance of the facts and of the legal consequences, which the Commission deduces therefrom.” Since Tetra Laval (2002), the CJEU has nevertheless been reviewing “also whether the evidence contains all the information which must be taken into account in order to assess a complex situation and whether it is capable of substantiating the conclusions drawn from it.”

Also risk regulation case law has witnessed a significant evolution, showing a change in the standard and scope of review. Since Pfizer (2002) (and until the recent decision in Bayer (2018), among many others), the Courts’ scrutiny has started to engage more closely with the science underpinning the legal acts under review, and technically dense judgments are no longer an exception. This has attracted both praises and criticism, but does not seem to be a transient trend.

Against this background, we would like to try and identify the (causes of) convergences and divergences between competition law and risk regulation. The findings will likely shed light also on other fields of EU policy that display a high degree of complexity and, accordingly, rely heavily on economic, scientific or similar expertise.

The speakers

Andriani Kalintiri joined King’s College London as a Lecturer in Competition Law in October 2019. Previously, she was a Lecturer in Law at City, University of London (2018-2019) and a Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science (2016-2018). Andriani holds a PhD from Queen Mary University of London (2015), which was fully funded by a three-year Queen Mary Research Studentship; an LLM in Commercial Law from the University of Cambridge (2011); and an LLB from the University of Athens (2010). She is currently a member of the editorial team of the Journal of European Competition Law & Practice, as well as the book reviews editor of the European Competition and Regulatory Law Review. Andriani is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has taught at various institutions, including Cambridge, the London School of Economics and Political Science and University College London.

Andriani’s research interests lie in the formation of and the interplay between substantive and procedural rules in competition enforcement. Her work to date has examined questions of evidence assessment and judicial review in the application of the EU competition provisions, the rationale for the imputation of parental liability, and the operation of analytical shortcuts in competition enforcement with a focus on the EU system.

Annalisa Volpato is Assistant professor in European administrative law at Maastricht University. She obtained a double PhD in EU law at Maastricht University and University of Padova and she worked as a lecturer in EU law at Maastricht University. Previously, she studied law at the Université de Louvain (Erasmus) and at the University of Padova, where she graduated cum laude. In 2014, she obtained an LLM in EU law at the College of Europe.

Annalisa also worked at the Legal Service of the European Commission and she was trainee in law firms, qualifying as lawyer in 2015. Her research interests concern the institutional and administrative aspects of EU law, in particular the delegation of powers to EU institutions, EU agencies and standardisation bodies.

Preparatory reading

Andriani Kalintiri will base her talk on the paper ‘What’s in a name? The marginal standard of review of “complex economic assessments” in EU competition enforcement,’ which was published in Common Market Law Review. If you would like to read it, the paper is available in an open access version (King’s College London) and on the publisher’s website.

Preliminary reflections on Annalisa Volpato’s presentation can be found in her working paper ‘Judicial Review of the Acts of EU Agencies: Discretion Escaping Scrutiny?’ which is available for download from SSRN.

The event will be held on zoom.

New publication: I Just Can’t Get Enough (of Experts): The Numbers of COVID-19 and the Need for a European Approach to Testing

This article offers a reflection on the testing strategies deployed in the generation of epidemiological data in the European Union (EU). I will argue that, while in the early days of the pandemic, Member States proceeded to testing in a rather scattered way, the shortage of resources seems to have acted as a driver of coordination, which is now increasingly being discussed at EU level. I will examine the legal and institutional framework supporting such embryonic coordination efforts and offer a preliminary assessment of their implications for a European approach to epidemiological knowledge-making.

The article, published on the European Journal of Risk Regulation, is available open access here.

New publication! Glyphosate Effect: Has the Glyphosate Controversy Affected the EU’s Regulatory Epistemology?

Glyphosate’s authorisation will expire in 2022 and its re-approval will take place in a changed legal and political landscape: the national phase of risk assessment is entrusted to a taskforce of four Member States, and, from 2021, the reform of the general food law will apply, imposing, inter alia, more ambitious transparency standards. Taking stock of these developments, this contribution analyses, from a legal perspective, whether and how the glyphosate dispute has contributed to the development of the EU’s regulatory epistemology, with specific regard to food governance. It identifies the “manifesto” of the EU’s regulatory epistemology in the 2002 guidelines on the collection and use of expertise and reads them in the light of the glyphosate dispute. In particular, it focuses on the legal arrangements reflecting the principles established in the 2002 guidelines (quality, openness, effectiveness) and analyses them against the tensions that emerged throughout the dispute with regard to the sources, levels and purposes of EU regulatory knowledge-making. It then considers whether and how such tensions have been addressed by legislative reform and whether this has resulted in a further refinement of the EU’s regulatory epistemology.

The article, published on the European Journal of Risk Regulation, is available open access here.

New event: Il governo dei numeri. Indicatori economico-finanziari e decisione di bilancio nello Stato costituzionale – Università di Bologna 17-18 Ottobre 2019


17 ottobre

  • 14.00 – Saluti istituzionali:
    – Antonino Rotolo – Prorettore per la ricerca – UNIBO
    – Michele Caianiello – Direttore Dipartimento DSG – UNIBO
    – Giusella Finocchiaro – Presidente Fondazione del Monte – UNIBO
    – Luca Mezzetti – Coordinatore corso di Laurea magistrale in Giurisprudenza – UNIBO
    – Marco Lombardo – Assessore alle Relazioni europee e internazionali – Comune di Bologna
  • 14.30 – Presentazione del convegno:
    Corrado Caruso – UNIBO
  • 15.00 – 17.30 – I sessione
    Presiede: Riccardo Leoncini – UNIBO
    – Vera Negri Zamagni – UNIBO: Moneta ed economia nella storia dell’integrazione europea: esiste un modello originario?
    Daniel Mügge – Università di Amsterdam: Come si costruiscono gli indicatori macro-economici europei?
    – Paolo Manasse – UNIBO: La guerra dei numeri: Indicatori europei e politiche economiche nazionali
    – Filippo Taddei – Johns Hopkins, SAIS: Politica monetaria e strategie politico -istituzionali della Banca centrale europea
    – Adriano Giannola – SVIMEZ: Illusioni e presunzioni. Il ruolo dell’Italia nella UE
  • 17.30 – Rinfresco

18 ottobre

  • 10.00 – 12.30 – II sessione
    Presiede: Andrea Morrone – UNIBO
    – Diane Fromage – Università di Maastricht: La flessibilità dei numeri: la Commissione europea e le trattative multilivello sui bilanci nazionali
    – Agustín J. Menéndez – Università autonoma di Madrid: Indicatori macroeconomici e forma di governo dell’UE. Fine del sovranazionalismo?
    – Antonio Lo Faro – Università di Catania: I numeri tra stabilità economica e solidarietà transnazionale
    – Federico Casolari – UNIBO: Corte di Giustizia e diritti sociali al tempo della crisi
    – Christian Joerges – Hertie School of Governance – Centre for European Law and Politics
    – Giovanni Pitruzzella – Avvocato generale CGUE
  • 12.30 – 14.00 – Pranzo
  • 14.00 – 16.30 – III sessione
    Presiede: Tommaso Giupponi – UNIBO
    – Nicola Lupo – LUISS: La sessione di bilancio dopo la riforma dell’art. 81 Cost.
    – Cristina Fasone – LUISS: I controlli parlamentari sulla finanza pubblica
    – Guido Rivosecchi – LUMSA: L’ausiliarietà in trasformazione: le virtualità multiple della funzione di controllo della Corte dei conti
    – Michele Massa – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore: Corte costituzionale e giustiziabilità dell’equilibrio di bilancio: dal principio alle regole (e ritorno)
    – Giuseppe Pisauro – Presidente dell’Ufficio Parlamentare di Bilancio
  • 16.30 – 17.30 – Tavola rotonda conclusiva
    Presiede: Roberto Bin – Università di Ferrara
    – Andrea Guazzarotti – Università di Ferrara
    – Marta Morvillo – Università di Amsterdam
    – Edoardo Raffiotta – UNIBO
    – Sabrina Ragone – UNIBO

Sala Carracci, Palazzo Magnani, via Zamboni 20, Bologna

La locandina del convegno è disponibile qui.

I lavori del convegno si terranno in lingua italiana ed inglese.
Info: Maria Mocchegiani (

New event! ACELG annual conference: Expertise, participation, and EU law – a constitutional perspective – Amsterdam 8 November 2019


Expertise has long played a constitutive role in the European Union (EU). From the technocratic ideology of early day neofunctionalism, to agencification and, more recently, the management of the financial crisis, technical expertise has been key in compensating the disputed democratic credentials of the Union with technical legitimacy.

Justifying politically divisive and socially contested measures through technical and allegedly neutral arguments has however proven to result in a fragile equilibrium. Such fragility has surfaced time and again in periodic outbursts of contestation, such as those occurred recently in relation to the controversial reauthorization of the pesticide glyphosate. In particular, heavy reliance on expert justification has proved to entail a triple risk: of excluding the variety of values and world views concerned, of obscuring latent conflicts between diverging interests, and of ultimately resulting in politically and legally unaccountable exercises of discretion.

Expert authority itself is currently facing a double challenge posed, on the one hand, by populist, post-factual narratives and, on the other hand, by a deeper, increasing discomfort with the idealized image of expertise as an unbiased source of knowledge, insulated from interests and policy preferences. The convergence between these pressures and the prolonged legitimacy crisis affecting the European project calls for a renewed effort to understand the role of expertise in the EU.


Panel 1 – Expertise and the internal market: risk, objectivity, and ideology

  • Chair/Discussant: Maria Weimer (ACELG)
  • Alessandra Arcuri (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
  • Cathrine Holst (University of Oslo)

Panel 2 – Opening the stage: avenues for contestation and citizens’ participation

  • Chair/Discussant: Laurens Ankersmit (ACELG)
  • Päivi Leino Sandberg (University of Helsinki)
  • Filipe Brito Bastos (ACELG)

Panel 3 – Beyond technical discretion: legal accountability of expert-based decision making

  • Chair/Discussant: Joana Mendes (University of Luxembourg)
  • Marta Morvillo and Maria Weimer (ACELG)
  • Wendy Wagner (University of Texas)

Keynote – Developing a constitutional language for EU expert governance

  • Stijn Smismans (Cardiff University)
  • Chair: Christina Eckes (ACELG)


Participation in the conference is free of charge, but registration is required. Please register to participate.

New publication: Climate change litigation e separazione dei poteri: riflessioni a partire dal caso ‘Urgenda’

Il caso Urgenda, deciso dalla Corte d’appello dell’Aia nell’ottobre 2018 ha condannato lo Stato olandese a ridurre le emissioni di gas serra di almeno il 25% (invece del 20% previsto dal governo), rispetto ai valori del 1990, entro la fine del 2020. Prendendo le mosse dalla decisione, i paragrafi seguenti cercheranno di offrire alcune riflessioni sul tema: dopo aver richiamato i fatti del giudizio, si prenderanno in esame le due sentenze, rese rispettivamente in primo grado e in appello, mettendo in evidenza gli aspetti relativi all’inquadramento della questione ambientale in termini di diritti, al ruolo del giudice all’interno della trias politica e quello giocato delle conoscenze scientifiche nel caso in esame. L’articolo è disponibile sul Forum di Quaderni Costituzionali.

New publication! The General Court Orders Disclosure of Glyphosate-related Scientific Studies: Tweedale, Hautala, and the Concept of Environmental Information in the Context of Plant Protection Products

In March 2019, the General Court issued two judgments on access to scientific studies used in the context of the controversial authorisation of the pesticide glyphosate (Case T-716/14Anthony C Tweedale v European Food Safety Authority and Case T-329/17Heidi Hautala and Others v European Food Safety Authority). In this case note, published on the European Journal of Risk Regulation, I discuss how these two decisions are likely to set a new standard for transparency and access to scientific studies in plant protection products authorisations. The article is available open access here.