Over the years, Alberto Alemanno has been involved in dozens of campaigns, policy actions and strategic legal actions in the EU transnational space. In every instance, he has been as much a vehicle as an originator, and often benefited from great collaborators. Here is a collection of his advocacy work and impact:
[ POLITICAL RIGHTS ]
Transnational Political Parties
Alberto Alemanno has been advocating for the creation of Transnational Political Parties since the early 2000s. Together with Frank Biancheri, he co-launched Newropeans, one of the first transnational political parties in 2008. In 2018, he advised Volt Europa, on the set up of their transnational party. In February 2018, ahead of the European Parliament vote on the reform of the EU Electoral Law, he was one of the initiators of the campaign Real Representation as Europeans with WeMove.eu. In 2021, he was auditioned by the European Parliament on the reform of the EU Electoral Law and provided regular advice to the rapporteur Domenec Devesa, MEP during the 2019-2024 political cycle.
European Citizens’ Assembly
After serving as an expert and observer of the Conference on the Future of Europe, Alberto was solicited by the European Parliament Constitutional Affairs Committee to prepare a study assessing the state of EU participatory democracy with the aim of designing a permanent citizens’ assembly within the EU institutional architecture. The study prompted a major debate on whether and how to accommodate the growing demand for citizens’ involvement and deliberation within the EU day-to-day decision-making, and currently at the centre of the debate regarding the opportunity to reform the EU Treaties.
Reform of the Right of Petition before the European Parliament
Alberto has been commissioned by the European Parliament to prepare a study aimed at enhancing the role and impact of petitions as an instrument of participatory democracy. This study prompted a broader debate on how to strengthen the right of petition at the EU level within the existing EU participatory architecture and informed the legal and political debate around EU institutional reform.
Voters without Borders
Following the publication of an Op-Ed in The Guardian, Alberto co-initiated a European Citizens Initiative calling the EU to confer full political rights to all citizens regardless of where they reside.
[ MIGRATION RIGHTS ]
Alberto Alemanno prepared a complaint to the EU Commission asking to trigger an infringement procedure against Greece for its systematic breach of EU law in its treatment of people seeking asylum in Europe, a coalition of human rights groups. The complaint was lodged by Oxfam International and WeMove, covered by international media, as well as Human Rights Watch.
[ CONSUMER RIGHTS ]
International Roaming Charges
In 2014, Alberto Alemanno prompted the registration – made by his students at HEC Paris and Sciences Po – of the first European Citizen Initiative One Single Tariff, asking the EU to stop roaming charges across Europe. Since 2015, no roaming charges exist within the EU.
Freedom of Panorama
In 2015, Alberto and his students published a report on “freedom of panorama” in Europe for WIKIMEDIA Foundation.
Free Covid Testing
In 2020, Alberto advocated for free testing for EU citizens and residents. This request which was supported by a wide coalition including Euroconsumers was accepted by some EU Member States, such as France.
In 2015, Alberto has been advocating for the prohibition of airline “no-show” clauses by serving BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation, on a pro bono basis.
[ HEALTH RIGHTS ]
Plain Packaging for Tobacco Products
Alberto Alemanno contributed to the adoption of plain packaging of tobacco products both through his scholarly research and training to the benefit of dozens of ministerial officers and health advocates in France, the UK, Ireland and Norway and providing legal assistance to the World Health Organization. He also assisted the EU Commission during the 2014 revision of the EU Tobacco Products Directive.
Alberto provided pro bono legal assistance to the ECI initiators, notably Avaaz, before, during and after the signature collection.
[ DIGITAL RIGHTS ]
In Spring 2018, Alberto Alemanno challenged the EU approach to counter fake news by lodging a complaint before the EU Ombudsman arguing that the EU Disinformation Review violates the freedom of expression and right of defence. This was featured in The Washington Post and in the Financial Times, leading to partial reform. He also co-authored for the European Parliament a report aimed at identifying policy options to tame disinformation.
Political Social Media Advertising
In 2019, Alberto contributed to denounce Facebook for putting in place new rules for political advertisement in all EU Member States, which prevented transnational political ads. Those restrictions were lifted a few days before the European Parliament elections.
In 2018, Alberto was appointed member and rapporteur of the EU High-Level Expert Panel tasked to design the first EU policy of business to government data-sharing. His report informed the preparation and adoption of the EU Data Act. See reports by POLITICO.
[ ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS ]
In 2016, Alberto Alemanno prepared a report for WWF advocating for an early reform of the Common Agricultural Policy by leveraging on the newly established REFIT Platform.
[ ANIMAL RIGHTS ]
In 2020, Alberto Alemanno submitted an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Eurogroup for Animals – the largest umbrella organisation representing animal rights groups – defending animal rights at the time of slaughter. This led the Court to side with the European animal rights’ interpretation of the applicable directive. This outcome was featured here.
[ WORKERS’ RIGHTS ]
Alberto Alemanno prepared and lodged a collective complaint on behalf of the European Youth Forum to challenge the institutionalization of unpaid internships in Belgium before the Council of Europe. You can read about it here. In its decision, the Committee accepted this claim in a seminal decision with consequential effects across all members of the Council.
[ SUSTAINABILITY RIGHTS (ESG) ]
Ukraine Corporate Index
In the aftermath of the Russian invasion, Alberto Alemanno designed the Ukraine Corporate Index to nudge companies reassessing their market presence on the Russian market. As recognised by the Financial Times, this index played a major role in increasing pressure on businesses to position themselves in relation to the invasion.
[ INTEGRITY / ANTI-CORRUPTION ]
European Parliament Appointments
In September 2022, Alberto Alemanno lodged a formal complaint to the European Ombudsman over the European Parliament’s decision to rush through a package of top job appointments, including the position of Secretary-General and several Directors-General. The appointments resulted from a backroom deal between a number of political groups at the European Parliament, with total lack of transparency. The complaint was lodged in partnership with Transparency International EU. It was widely reported, including by Euronews, POLITICO, and the Brussels Times.
In Spring 2022, Alberto provided legal advice to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) regarding the unethical behaviour of several political leaders involved in the so-called Uber Files. His analysis was featured in the BBC documentary, The Guardian and widely shared across media outlets.
Alberto drafted the first draft EU directive aimed at protecting whistle-blowers in the European Union together with Professor Vigijlenca Abazi. Their text was used by the EU Commission in 2018 when putting foreword its proposal. It became law in 2019.
In 2018, Alberto successfully lodged one of the complaints to the European Ombudsman about José Manuel Barroso’s business activities with Goldman Sachs, which led to a reform of the EU ethics system and revolving doors.
In 2020, Alberto lodged a complaint against the EU Commission President von der Leyen for breaching the duty of independence when she got unmeshed with the national political elections taking place in Croatia. The complaint was judged well-founded by the EU Ombudsman and led von der Leyen to acknowledge impropriety of her behaviour.
EU Ethics Body
In 2020, Alberto was tasked to design an EU ethics body for the EU and assisting the Greens to pursue this proposal. This provided the model for the EU Commission’s proposal.
[ RULE OF LAW / ACCESS TO JUSTICE ]
Approval of Poland’s Recovery Plan
In August 2022, Alberto Alemanno co-designed an unprecedented legal action brought by four European judges’ associations against the Council of the EU’s decision to approve Poland’s Recovery and Resilience Plan. The action intends to defend the interests of Polish judges subject to disciplinary proceedings and sanctions, which jeopardize their independence, in breach of EU law and the rule of law. The action was reported by POLITICO, Le Monde, and Reuters, among others, and the case is pending.
Amicus Curiae Briefs
Since 2012, Alberto had been advocating – through his scholarship and campaigning – for the recognition of amicus curiae brief before the Court of Justice of the European Union. Due the limited access enjoyed by individuals and civil society organisations, he has been arguing for a reform of the rules of procedure of the Court.
Publicity of Hearings of the Court of Justice of the EU
Since leaving the Court of Justice – where he clerked between 2005 and 2009 – Alberto has been advocating for an opening of the court towards the public so as to facilitate access to justice. One of the reforms he has been campaigning for is the systematic streaming of all hearings, which despite being public, remain a prerogative of those who can afford to travel to Luxembourg to attend the hearings. This is the letter sent to the President of the Court and list of academics supporting the request. It led to a partial reform which recognizes the streaming of all major cases’ hearings. For an analysis, see here.
European Judicial Appointments
Since 2015, Alberto has been advocating for greater publicity in the selection and appointment of members of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Following an initial complaint to the EU Ombudsman, the Council revised the treatment of all Member States’ documents in its possession, including those related to judicial appointments, by making them accessible, as a matter of principle, under the EU access to documents regulation. Despite this major reform, access to documents related to judicial appointments remains limited as the Council refuses their publicity.