Unbundling Long-Term Labour Migrants’ Access to Mobility and Socio-Economic Rights under the Long-Term Resident Directive

Blogpost 17/2023

Demographic changes in the European Union, including an ageing-population, a shrinking working age population and population decline more broadly, have created a labour deficit within the EU’s single market. European law and policy makers recognise that the EU will need to increasingly rely on external labour to offset this deficit and argue the EU’s legal migration framework needs to be reformed to make the EU a more attractive destination for potential labour migrants. Within these wider debates on potential reforms to the EU’s legal migration framework, the European Commission published a proposal to recast the existing 2003 Long-Term Resident Directive (LTR Directive) in April of 2022 (for an overview of the Commission’s proposed reforms, see here). Importantly, the LTR Directive does not address labour migrants’ legal pathways into the EU, instead, it improves the legal position of labour migrants who have resided in the territory of a Member State for five years and meet other financial, employment and integration criteria. EU long-term residency status (LTR status) encourages labour migrants to continue to work in the EU by providing them with additional socio-economic rights, greater protection from expulsion and intra-EU mobility rights. Proposed reforms to the LTR Directive that provide labour migrants with earlier access to these rights would help to make the EU’s legal migration framework more attractive to both existing and future labour migrants.Continue reading

CJEU Strips it Down for OnlyFans (C-695/20 Fenix International v HMRC)

Blogpost 16/2023

On 28 February 2023, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice delivered its judgment in Case C-695/20 Fenix International Ltd v Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) regarding the possible breach of the Council’s implementing powers afforded under Article 397 of Council Directive 2006/112 (VAT Directive) and the validity of Article 9a of Implementing Regulation No. 282/2011. It held that Article 9a was both necessary and appropriate to implement the VAT Directive, and that the Council did not abuse its powers by supplementing or adding to the general aims and normative content set out in Article 28 of the VAT Directive. As alluded to in the title of this post, the Court of Justice returned to the foundations of this area of law, referring to the rationale for uniform taxation and the reason behind Article 9a’s implementation, in turn, disproving Fenix International’s claims, and providing a judgment that should be referenced in many tax cases to come.

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ECtHR finds violation of the right to fair trial when national court does not seek preliminary ruling from the CJEU

Blogpost 15/2023

The obligation of national courts to seek preliminary reference from the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) is a long-debated topic. In EU law, it is framed as an issue with two players: a national court and Luxembourg. In recent case law, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has made it clear that it, too, has a say in the matter.

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Data protection meets civil procedure – the ECJ decision in Norra Stockholm Bygg

Blogpost 14/2023

The recent case of Norra Stockholm Bygg represents another important data protection decision from the ECJ. The decision addresses the application of the General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’) to Member State courts when they are handling personal data, and therefore has important practical significance for civil procedure in all Member States. Domestic courts are now required to have regard to the data protection interests of data subjects when making civil orders which may involve the disclosure of personal data. Moreover, the ECJ’s approach to the legality of such processing offers the first judicial interpretation of Article 6(4) of the GDPR, the potential for lawful ‘incompatible further processing’.

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Consumer Compensation via the Unfair Contract Terms Directive? AG Collins’ Opinion in Bank M (C-520/21, 16 February 2023)

Blogpost 13/2023

In a recent Opinion by Advocate General Anthony Collins, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the Court) was asked to interpret the Unfair Contract Terms Directive (Directive 93/13) (the UCT Directive) in light of a preliminary reference from Poland. In the referral, the Court was asked whether the UCT Directive allows for follow-up compensation claims of EU consumers deceived by unfair contract terms in a foreign denominated mortgage loan agreement. This case could potentially open the door for compensation claims under the UCT Directive and thereby cause the Polish banking sector financial turbulence and distress. How could it come that far?Continue reading

The Normalization of Denial of Legal Safeguards in the proposed Asylum and Migration Legislation

Blogpost 12/2023

In September 2020, the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum was presented by the Commission which aims to provide a ‘fresh start’ on EU asylum policy. Although the ambition of the Common European Asylum System is to guarantee harmonized and uniform standards for third-country nationals seeking international protection in the EU, it is highly questionable, how the proposed instruments, which leave the discretion to Member States to derogate in certain cases from basic rights and asylum guarantees, will achieve this objective. Already the expanded use of border procedures as presented in the amended proposal for an Asylum Procedures Regulation, and the proposed Crisis and Force Majeure Regulation allow, and even vindicate, the non-application of the full sets of rights foreseen in the asylum acquis for those applying for international protection at the borders. One year later, in 2021, the proposal for a Regulation to address situations of instrumentalization in the field of migration and asylum was presented, that although it is part of the Schengen reform, it nevertheless regulates asylum matters and thus should be read in conjunction with the Pact.

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The ECJ’s First Landmark Case on Automated Decision-Making – a Report from the Oral Hearing before the First Chamber

Blogpost 11/2023

Please note: this post discusses the public oral hearing in Case C-634/21 held by the ECJ in Luxembourg on 26 January 2023, which the author attended in person. The summary of the oral hearing as presented here is based on the author’s own observations and notes taken during the hearing.

After decades of existence, the right not to be subject to automated decision-making is finally being considered for the first time before the European Court of Justice (‘ECJ’). On Thursday, 26 January 2023, the First Chamber of the ECJ held its hearing in Case C-634/21, the very first in which it has been asked to interpret Article 22 of the General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’). The latter provision grants data subjects the right “not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated processing, including profiling, which produces legal effects concerning him or her or similarly significantly affects him or her”. In a very similar form, this right had already been enshrined in Article 15 of the Data Protection Directive. However, the latter provision never ‘made’ it to the ECJ before Article 22 of the GDPR repealed and replaced it.Continue reading

Game Changer: Defining the Relevant Market of Esports Ecosystems

Blogpost 10/2023

Esports (short for: ‘electronic sports’) have emerged as a major player in the entertainment industry, attracting billions of euros in revenue and a massive global audience. Now that big tech companies have started to establish themselves in the industry, the legal landscape of esports is also becoming increasingly important, especially with regards to the antitrust aspects. Competition law plays a critical role in market regulation and protecting consumer welfare, but its applicability to the unique characteristics of esports is a subject of debate. The purpose of this blog is to explore the challenges and implications of applying EU competition law to esports, with a focus on the crucial aspect of relevant market definition. The post will provide an overview of the guiding legal principles, assess how they would apply to the unique features of esports and conclude with a number of possible approaches to address these challenges.Continue reading