ARENA Tuesday seminar: Joshua Fjelstul (online)

Joshua Fjelstul presents the paper 'Prosecutorial Discretion and the Rule of Law: Does Public Opposition to the EU Deter the Commission from Prosecuting Violations of EU Law?' at the ARENA Tuesday seminar on 18 January 2022.


The European Commission has considerable discretion over whether to investigate and prosecute European Union (EU) member states for violations of EU law. Is the Commission less likely to take action against a member state when there is more public opposition to the EU? In this paper, I assess how public support for the EU influences the behavior of the Commission across the EU’s three major noncompliance procedures: (1) the infringement procedure, (2) the state aid procedure, and (3) the technical regulations procedure. Using a collection of three new databases that capture all observable activity in these procedures, I find that, in the first two procedures, where the Commission has to consider the strategic behavior of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), public opposition to the EU deters the Commission from prosecuting potential violations of EU law, and that the magnitude of this effect varies by Directorate-General (DG), creating a noncompliance deficit that is systematically larger in some member states, and in some policy areas, than others.

Download paper (restricted access).

Please note that this paper is work in progress and thus has limited distribution, please contact us if you would like access. Do not cite without permission from the author.

The event is online. If you would like to attend digitally, contact Birthe Einen to get the zoom link. 

Published Jan. 3, 2022 11:46 AM - Last modified Jan. 10, 2022 2:04 PM