University of Amsterdam

Posts by authors affiliated with University of Amsterdam

28 November 2023

Dutch Rule of Law Alert

It is never a good sign when Viktor Orbán celebrates the election results of another country. Last Wednesday was one of those days. For the first time in the history of Dutch politics, a far-right party became by far the biggest party in the Dutch parliament. It is bad news in many respects, and even more, because the Dutch constitutional system knows a lack of formal rule of law safeguards. In contrast to countries such as Italy or Germany, the Dutch constitutional system is not prepared for a democratic move to the anti-liberal far right.

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08 September 2023

An Interdisciplinary Toolbox for Researching the AI-Act

The proposed AI-act (AIA) will fundamentally transform the production, distribution, and use of AI-systems across the EU. Legal research has an important role to play in both clarifying and evaluating the AIA. To this end, legal researchers may employ a legal-doctrinal method, and focus on the AIA’s provisions and recitals to describe or evaluate its obligations. However, legal-doctrinal research is not a panacea that can fully operationalize or evaluate the AIA on its own. Rather, with the support of interdisciplinary research, we can better understand the AIA’s vague provisions, test its real-life application, and create practical design requirements for the developers of AI-systems. This blogpost gives a short glimpse into the methodological toolbox for researching the AI-act.

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09 Juni 2023

Regulating the Sustainability Transition

The European Parliament’s adoption of its position on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) last week marks a breakthrough for transnational corporate regulation. At a moment when the EU Green Deal was facing open opposition from within the European People’s Party Group (EPP), rapporteur Lara Wolters (S&P) withstood lobbying efforts until the final minute and secured a majority for her report. With a strong mandate for the Parliament in the upcoming Trilogue, the EU has come a big step closer to passing the most ambitious due diligence legislation worldwide.

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24 Mai 2023

Data After Life

Contract law in Europe currently has little grasp on the balancing of interests of social media users, their heirs, platforms, and society at large, which means that platforms play a key role in determining how digital legacies are handled. A human rights perspective can offer starting points for reforms that do more justice to the protection of digital identities of social media users.

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12 Mai 2023

Squaring the triangle of fundamental rights concerns

Ex ante, the July 2022 ruling by the Court of Justice of the EU on Passenger Name Records had a very specific scope — the use of passenger name records by government agencies. Upon closer inspection, however, it has important implications for the governance of algorithms more generally. That is true especially for the proposed AI Act, which is currently working its way through the EU institutions. It highlights, ultimately, how national, or in this case European, legal orders may limit the scope for international regulatory harmonization and cooperation.

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13 Februar 2023
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The platform-media relationship in the European Media Freedom Act

The European Media Freedom Act proposal takes aim at very large online platforms’ gatekeeping power over access to media content and aims to reshape the relationship between media and platforms. By providing media organisations a special position on platforms, however, the EMFA risks changing the media’s role and relationships with other actors in ways that run counter to its overall objective to secure media freedom.

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03 Januar 2023
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The Transfer of Ownership in the ‘Patagonia Case’

September 15th 2022 was a big day for the climate movement. The owner of Patagonia – a large multinational corporation producing wearables – transferred 98% of his shares (worth 3 billion dollars) to the newly established Holdfast Collective, a foundation aimed at fighting climate change. Are we at the dawn of a new type of capitalism, where profit is made to work for nature rather than against it?

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06 Dezember 2022

The Commission’s missed opportunity to reclaim competition law for the Rechtsstaat

On 30 November 2022, the European Commission took two important decisions to protect the EU budget against possible breaches of the rule of law in Hungary. First, the Commission concluded that the conditions for applying the Conditionality mechanism in Hungary remain and Hungary needs to take further and more credible action to eliminate the remaining risks for the EU budget. Second, the Commission has assessed Hungary’s Recovery and Resilience Plan and froze the disbursement of the RRF until the full and effective implementation of 27 ”super milestones” has taken place. Unfortunately, with these measures, missed opportunity to reclaim the importance of competition law in the Rechtsstaat.

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15 November 2022

Teaching Law in Times of Overlapping Crises

For decades, we – legal scholars and teachers – have helped weaken the law by presenting it as ‘lagging behind’, as a feeble and inept tool of government, transferring thus much of its normative power into the hands of the most powerful market actors. We can, and have to, change this.

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31 Oktober 2022

A Regulator Caught Between Conflicting Policy Objectives

The Digital Services Act has landed on an increased centralization of its enforcement powers in the hands of the European Commission. The rationale behind this centralized enforcement is understandable, particularly in light of the experience with GDPR enforcement. At the same time, it raises crucial questions about the future recurrence of such centralizaion in the Commission's hands, and the separation of powers more broadly.

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The DSA has been published – now the difficult bit begins

The Digital Services Act (DSA) has finally been published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 27 October 2022. This publication marks the end of a years-long drafting and negotiation process, and opens a new chapter: that of its enforcement, practicable access to justice, and potential to set global precedents.

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26 September 2022

Why EU Countries Should Open Their Borders to Russian Draft-Evaders

In a significant escalation of his war in Ukraine, Russia’s President Putin announced a partial mobilisation on the 21st of September. Attempting to avoid the draft, thousands of Russian men are reported to be fleeing the country. Are EU countries obliged to grant asylum to Russians who are (pre-emptively) evading Putin’s draft?

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08 September 2022

The “Year of Historical Memory” and Mnemonic Constitutionalism in Belarus

On 1st of September 2022, the academic year in all Belarusian schools started with an atypical lesson, on “historic memory” – led in Minsk by none other than the country’s “President” himself, Aliaksandr Łukašenka. There is a constitutional dimension to historical memory in Belarus, which is better grasped through the looking glass of mnemonic constitutionalism.

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19 August 2022

Dobbs in the EU

EU leaders and institutions have reacted strongly to the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs, which overturned Roe v. Wade and held that the right to abortion was not consitutionally protected. Shortly after the decision was made public, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning Dobbs, and calling for the right to abortion to be included in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

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05 August 2022
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The EU’s regulatory push against disinformation

Tech billionaire Elon Musk’s surprise bid to buy Twitter questions the wisdom of the current EU efforts to combat the spread of disinformation, which has relied to a large extend on platforms’ voluntary cooperation. Whether successful or not, it raises serious questions on EU disinformation policy’s reliance on platforms’ discretion to moderate this category of speech. It is likely to put pressure on the carefully constructed web of self- and co-regulatory measures and legislation the European Commission has spun to counter the spread of disinformation.

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02 Juni 2022
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Competition and Conditionality

On 5 April 2022, just two days after the Hungarian national elections, the European Commission formally announced that it would apply the conditionality mechanism enshrined in Regulation 2020/2092 in relation to Hungary. In the past the Commission has frequently addressed issues related to “systemic irregularities, deficiencies and weaknesses in public procurement procedures”. In Hungary, however, it has not probed the enforcement of competition (cartel) law in public tender procedures. The Commission should seize the opportunity to act in this area.

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16 Mai 2022

Between Filters and Fundamental Rights

On 26 April 2022 the CJEU delivered its much-awaited judgement in Case C-401/19 – Poland v. Parliament and Council. The case concerns the validity of Article 17 of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive in light of fundamental rights. The judgment marks the climax of a turbulent journey in the area of copyright law, with potential implications for the future of platform regulation and content moderation in EU law.

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05 Mai 2022
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Schengen Restored

On 26 April 2022, the Court of Justice of the EU rendered a ruling in joined cases C-368/20 and C-369/20 stating that Member States of the European Union can re-introduce border controls within the Schengen Zone only under strict conditions. The Court has stepped up as a guardian of the Treaties protecting free movement of people without controls at the internal borders of the EU. At the same time, it has left room for the European and national executives to exercise their function and fill in the blanks.

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29 März 2022

Algorithm Centrism in the DSA’s Regulation of Recommender Systems

The regulation of recommender systems is often framed as an issue of algorithmic governance. In this post I want to argue that this focus on recommender algorithms can be restrictive, and to show how one can go about regulating recommender systems in a broader sense. This systemic view pays closer attention to recommendation outputs (i.e. recommendations) and inputs (i.e. user behavior), and not just processing logics.

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16 Februar 2022
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Mutual (Dis)trust

Last week, the General Court of the European Union, in its judgment T-791/19 Sped-Pro, recognized for the first time the impact that systematic rule of law deficiencies have on national competition authorities. The judgement is seminal, in that it openly questions the ability of national authorities impacted by rule of law backsliding to effectively enforce EU law. The judgement also goes to the heart of explaining the pivotal constitutional role played by competition law within the EU legal order.