FREE Group Members (situation as of March, 2023)

The Fundamental Rights European Experts Group (FREE Group)  is a Belgian non governmental organisation (Association Sans But Lucratif (ASBL) Registered at Belgian Moniteur: Number 304811.

According to art 3 and 4 of its Statute ( see below *) the association focus is on monitoring, teaching and advocating in the European Union freedom security and justice related policies. In the same framework we follow also the EU actions in protecting and promoting EU values and fundamental rights in the Member States as required by the article 2, 6 and 7 of the Treaty on the European Union (risk of violation by a Member State of EU founding values)

(22) FREE Group Members (per Country)


Philippe DE BRUYCKER  Jean Monnet Chair for European Law on Immigration & Asylum and Professor at the Institute for European Studies and the Law Faculty of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) as well as Sciences-Po in Paris. He is Deputy Director of the Migration Policy Centre of the EUI in Florence. Founder of  the “Academic Network for Legal Studies on Immigration and Asylum in Europe” (“Odysseus”). Adviser for European Commission the I.O.M. in Tirana for the National Strategy on Migration of the Albanian Government. Expert and trainer for different institutions (European Parliament, UNHCR, IOM, ICMPD,…). Author of the European Asylum Curriculum (EAC) used by the European Agency for  Asylum (EUAA) to train asylum case officers. After having extensively published on issues of constitutional and administrative law as Head of the Centre for Public Law in ULB till 1999, his several books and articles now focus on Immigration and Asylum Law with a special emphasis on its EU dimension.

 Anne WEYEMBERGH Professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles on European criminal law, international criminal law, Belgian penal law (special part) and the area of freedom, security and justice. Founder and coordinator the European Criminal Law Academic Network (ECLAN). Coordinator of the ULB team on European criminal law and co-coordinator of the research Team called RECL (“University of Brussels – European Criminal Law”), which is common to ULB and VUB (Vrij Universiteit Brussel). Author of numerous articles and co-edited several collective books in the field of EU criminal law. Author of a monography “L’harmonisation des législations : condition de l’espace pénal européen et révélateur de ses tensions ”.

 Yves POULLET full professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Namur (FUNDP) and Liège (Ulg). Former Director of CRIDS. Author of leading researches in the field of new technologies with a special emphasis on privacy issues, of individual and public freedom in the Information Society and of Internet Governance. Former Member of the Belgian Data Protection Commission. Member of the Legal Advisory Board of the DG INFOSOC. Founder of the European Telecommunications Forum ECLIP and FIRILITE. Co-founder of the ABDI (Association Belge de Droit de l’Informatique).


Henri LABAYLE Professor of Law at the Universities of Grenoble, Pau and Adour countries. Director of European Research Laboratory (CDRE). Dean and Jean Monnet Chair of European Union. Law Advisor and consultant of the EU institutions on Freedom security and Justice related issues. Visiting Professor at the European Institute of the Geneva University. DEA International and European Law. European Law Master Course Director. Member of several public and research bodies and commissions working in the public and European law domain.

Henri Pierre LEGROS Eulogos Athena President. Former European Commission Head of Unit in charge of interinstitutional relations. Coordinator of several internal and external information systems serving the European Area without Borders such as the EURES system). Author and co-author of Instititutional reports on better law making. Advisor for the EU Communication policy of the former EC Vice President Vitorino.

Marie GEORGES, (FREE member since February 4th, 2013) independent expert since January 2010 in the field of the fundamental right of individuals with regard to personal data processing and its implementation. She is the former counselor of the Chairman of Commission Nationale de l’informatique et des libertés” (National Data Protection and Liberties Commission) CNIL, France. National expert, she participated in the elaboration of the European Directive 95/46 harmonizing the national Data Protection as well as of the complementary EU Directive on Data Protection and Privacy in the telecommunications sector. At CNIL, she created and headed, from 1995 to 2005, the unit for Internet matters, then the Division of European and International Affairs and participated to the EU group of Data Protection regulators.


Spiros SIMITIS: (In Memoriam + 18th March 2023) Professor of Labour and Civil law, Computer Science and Law at the Goethe- University, Frankfurt; Director of the Research centre for Data Protection; Visiting Professor i.e. at Yale Law School (since 1980) and at the University of Paris (1990-2001); Member of the Research Council of the European University Institute, Florence (1990-1996); Data Protection Commissioner of the German Federal State of Hesse (1975-1991); Chairman of: the Data Protection Experts Committe of the Council of Europe (1982-86); the High level experts Group on Social Rights of the European Commission (1998-1989) the German National Ethics Council (2001-2005).

 Jörg MONAR Rector, College of Europe. Professor at the College of Europe (Bruges and Natolin) since 1991. Ph.D. In Modern History (1989) and in Political and Social Sciences (1991). Professor holding the EU Marie Curie Chair of Excellence on EU internal security governance at the Robert Schuman University in Strasbourg and Director of the SECURINT project (on leave from the Sussex European Institute, University of Sussex, Brighton). Formerly Professor of Politics at the University of Leicester and Director of the Institut für Europäische Politik (Bonn). Membership of the governing bodies of several academic organisations, including the IEP (Berlin), the EARF (Tübingen) and the Federal Trust (London), Specialist adviser to the House of Lords since 1999. Author of books and articles on the Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties, the New Transatlantic Agenda and EU Justice and Home Affairs. Editor of the European Foreign Affairs Review.

Peter Schaar, (Member since April 2, 2014) Chairman of the European Academy for Freedom of Information and Data Protection (EAID), former German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information.
Mr. Schaar was born in Berlin in 1954 and has a degree in Economics. From 1980 to 1986 he worked in various functions in the city administration of Hamburg. From 1986 to 2002 he was employed in the office of Hamburg’s Data Protection Commissioner, initally as the head of the technology unit and later as deputy commissioner. From 2002 to 2003 he was the managing director of a consulting company for data protection. From 2003 to 2013 he was the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information. He also currently works as guest lecturer at the University of Hamburg.
Awards: Prize of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation “Das politische Buch 2008” (“The Political Book 2008”) for the book Das Ende der Privatsphäre (The End of Privacy); “eco Internet AWARD 2008”, the special award of the Association of the German Internet Industry; Data Protection Award of the German Association for Data Protection and Data Security (GDD) 2013

Christian Kaunert, (Member since April 2, 2014) Professor of International Politics, was previously Marie Curie Senior Research Fellow at the European University Institute Florence, and Senior Lecturer in EU Politics & International Relations,University of Salford. He was awarded with a prestigious Jean Monnet Chair in EU Justice and Home Affairs Policy (in July 2012), and received a prestigious Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (from 2012-2016), the latter to be held at the University of Dundee. He is also Editor of the Journal of Contemporary European Research (JCER), Executive Committee member of the University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES), and an Expert for the European Parliament. Professor Kaunert holds a PhD in International Politics & an MSc in European Politics from the University of Wales Aberystwyth, a BA (Hons) European Business from Dublin City University, ESB Reutlingen and a BA (Hons) Open University. His research has a clear focus on the Global Security role of the EU, especially in the area of EU Justice and Home Affairs, including its external dimension, Terrorism and Counter-terrorism, and International Relations more generally. He is the author of several articles on EU Justice and Home Affairs, EU counter-terrorism, EU asylum and migration, and wider EU global security matters. His monograph ‘European Internal Security: towards supranational governance’ has been published with Manchester University Press, whilst a few more monographs have been contracted. He is appointed editor of the Journal of Contemporary European Research (JCER) and a member of the executive committee of UACES. He has frequently commented for UK and international media (Al-Jazeera, USA Today) on terrorism issues.


Valerio ONIDA, (In MEMORIAM + 14 May 2022)   former justice and president of the Italian Constitutional Court, president of the Italian School for the Judiciary. Author of several academic books, Law manuals and essay in Constitutional and regional matters.

Stefano RODOTA  ( In MEMORIAM + June 23, 2017) Professor emeritus of Law,, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Former Chairman of art.29 Working Party on Data protection, and of the Scientific Committee of the Fundamental Rights Agency, European Union, Chair, Internet Governance Forum Italy

Giuseppe CATALDI Vice-President, Professor of International Law and holder of a EU’s “Jean Monnet” Chair “ad personam” on the « Protection of Human Rights in Europe » at the University of Naples “L’Orientale”. He is the Director of the National Researches Council’s Institute of International Juridical Studies (Neapolitan Branch), Vice-President of the Italian Society for International law.

Oreste POLLICINO (in FREE since February 4th 2013) From September 2007, Associate Professor in Comparative Public Law, Bocconi University; 2004-2007 Post-doc in Comparative Public Law, Bocconi University; 2001-2004 PhD in Constitutional Law, State University of Milan; 2001-2002 LLM in European Law, College of Europe, Bruges; 1999-2000, Master in European law, University of Bologna.Teaching: Italian Public Law (since 2003), Information and Internet Law (since 2003) and Constitutional Adjudication in a Comparative Perspective (since 2008). Director of the series “Law and Policy of the New Media” Aracne, Editor of: International Journal of Communications Law and Policy,;, Member of the Editorial Board of Diritto Pubblico comparato ed europeo,,; Panoctica, Revista Eletrônica Acadêmica de Direito,  SEE:

Elena PACIOTTI  Former Member of the Executive Board of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Vienna. Former Member of the EP LIBE Committee and of Conventions on the Charter of Fundamental Rights and of the Convention on the Future of Europe.

Emilio DE CAPITANI Former Secretary of the EP Civil Liberties Committee (1998-2011) Expert on issues linked with the European Area of Freedom Security and Justice related policies as well as the European Parliament internal dynamics, structure and  evolution. Teaching Fellow for several years at Scuola Superiore S.Anna (PISA) on the same subject. Promoting EU Legislative transparency before the EU General Court (Cases T-540/15 and Case T-163/21)

Simonetta POZZI. (+ In MEMORIAM 15th MAY 2015) FREE Group Co-Founder. Former Author of an EU Institutions’ newsletter. Assistant editor of the FREE-Group Internet site (


 Deirdre CURTIN Professor of European Law at the University of Amsterdam (since 2008) and (founding) Director of the Amsterdam Center for European Law and Governance at the University of Amsterdam (since 2009); Professor of European and International Governance at the Utrecht School of Governance at the University of Utrecht (part-time), since 2002. Deirdre Curtin is Professor of European Law at the University of Amsterdam, (Founding). First female lawyer member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Winner of the Spinoza prize awarded by the Dutch Scientific Organisation for her pioneering research in the field of European Law and Governance. Research leader of several innovative research projects embracing both law and political science, including Open Government in the European Union and Compound Constitution(s) in Europe.

Monica DEN BOER (FREE member since February 4th, 2013) She has held a variety of positions at the European University Institute, Edinburgh University, the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, the European Institute of Public Administration, the Police Academy of The Netherlands and the College of Europe in Bruges. From 2004 to 2012 she held the Police Academy Chair on Comparative Public Administration, in particular the Internationalization of the Police Function, at the VU University Amsterdam. She is a member of the Committee on European Integration (CEI) of the Dutch Advisory Board on International Affairs and was Vice-Chair of the Board of the Clingendael Institute of International Relations in The Hague. Published 150-200 publications, mainly in English, including edited volumes, chapters and articles on the subject of European internal security co-operation, on international police cooperation, counter-terrorism, the control of organized crime, the blurring perspective between police and the military, surveillance, ethics and security. A full CV is available upon request:

Douwe KORFF (Member since April 2 2014) has been professor of international law at London Metropolitan University since 2002. He is a Dutch comparative and international lawyer, specialising in human rights and data protection. In the 1970s, he graduated from the Free University in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and was researcher at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. In the 1980s, he carried out human rights research at the Max Planck Institutes for comparative and international criminal law and for comparative and international public law in Freiburg im Breisgau and Heidelberg, Germany. In the 1990s, he taught international law and human rights at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and the European Convention on Human Rights at the University of Essex, UK. In 2006, he was visiting professor at the Law faculty of the University of Rijeka, Croatia. In the last ten years, he has carried out four major studies for the European Union’s Directorate-General on the Internal Market, relating to the implementation of EC Directives harmonising data protection law in the EU and the EEA, and was involved in two studies for the Information Commissioner’s Office. He has been cited as an expert in discussion of data protection policy.He is a member of the advisory council of theFoundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR), a leading UK think-tank on IT policy.

United Kingdom

Valsamis Mitsilegas  Head of the Department of Law, Professor of European Criminal Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Centre at Queen Mary University of London. From 2001 to 2005 he was legal adviser to theHouse of Lords European Union Committee. His interests and expertise lie in the areas of EU law (with particular focus on the evolution of the Union into an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice), global security governance and human rights. He has published widely in the fields of European criminal law, immigration and asylum and security and counter-terrorism law. He is also an expert in the field of legal responses to transnational organised crime, corruption and money laundering. His work explores the impact of globalisation and Europeanisation on the relationship between the individual and the state. Professor Mitsilegas is a member of the Management Committee of the European Criminal Law Academic Network (ECLAN), a Europe-wide network which brings together academic experts from the EU 27 and beyond. He was General Rapporteur to the 2012 Congress of the International Federation for European Law (FIDE), held in Tallinn (stream on the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice). He is currently the Queen Mary Principal Investigator on a multinational interdisciplinary research project on EU Action to Fight Environmental Crime (EFFACE) funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme for Research. This 40-month project (2012-2016) aims to assess the impact of environmental crime and develop effective and feasible policy options for combating it at EU level. Professor Mitsilegas is also a regular consultant to parliaments, EU institutions and international organisations.

Steve PEERS  Professor of Law at the Law School at the University of Essex. Expert advisor for the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, consultant to the European Commission and/or the European Parliament and a specialist adviser to the House of Lords EU Select Committee. Author or co-editor of several books on relevant aspects of EU law, of EU Justice and Home Affairs Law (3rd ed, OUP Jan 2011) and co-editor of EU Immigration and Asylum Law: Text and Commentary (Martinus Nijhoff, 2006, 2nd edition, vols 1 and 2, 2012); the EU Charter of Rights (Hart, 2004); and Commentary on the EU Charter of Rights (forthcoming, Hart). Contributor to the work of Statewatch, Amnesty International, and the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association. Consultant for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Irish Attorney-General and the Council of Europe.

Tony BUNYAN Visiting Research Fellow at London Metropolitan University and the University of Bristol. Member National Union of Journalists (UK) and the International Federation of Journalists. Director of Statewatch since 1990 Investigative journalist and writer specialising in justice and home affairs, civil liberties, the state and freedom of information in the EU. Author of “The Political Police in Britain” (1977), “Secrecy and openness in the EU” (1999) and “The Shape of Things to Come” (2009) and edited “The War on Freedom and Democracy” (2005). In 2001 (for access to EU documents) and in 2004 (for work on the war on terrorism and civil liberties). “European Voice” newspaper selected him as one of the “EV50” – one of the fifty most influential people in the European Union.

 United States of America

Marc ROTENBERG, President and Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, DC. Professor of  information privacy law at Georgetown University Law Center and frequently testifies before Congress on emerging privacy and civil liberties issues. He has served on several national and international advisory panels, including the expert panels on Cryptography Policy and Computer Security for the OECD, the Legal Experts on Cyberspace Law for UNESCO, and the Countering Spam program of the ITU. He chairs the ABA Committee on Privacy and Information Protection. He is a founding board member and former Chair of the Public Interest Registry, which manages the .ORG domain. He is editor of “The Privacy Law Sourcebook,” and co-editor of “Information Privacy Law” (Aspen Publishing 2006) and “Litigation Under the Federal Open Government Laws” (EPIC 2010).  He is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School. He served as Counsel to Senator Patrick J. Leahy on the Senate Judiciary Committee after graduation from law school. He is the recipient of several awards, including the World Technology Award in Law, the American Lawyer Award for Top Lawyers Under 45, the Norbert Weiner Award for Social and Professional Responsibility, and the Vicennial medal from Georgetown University.

John D. OCCHIPINTI (Member since April 2nd, 2014) is Professor of Political Science, Department Chair and Director of European Studies at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. He is also an adjunct professor in the Master’s Program on Security and Safety Leadership at George Washington University. In 2003, he wrote the first scholarly book on the evolution of Europol (Lynne Rienner). He has continued to publish book chapters and articles on the EU’s AFSJ and transatlantic relations, including “Partner or Push-over? EU Relations with the US on Internal Security” in D. Hamilton, ed., (2010), Shoulder to Shoulder: Forging a Strategic U.S.-EU Partnership; “Availability by Stealth? EU Information Sharing in Transatlantic Perspective,” in C. Kaunert and S. Leonard eds., (2013), European Security, Terrorism and Intelligence (Palgrave); “Whither the Withering Democratic Deficit? The Impact of the Lisbon Treaty on the AFSJ,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs (2013), and “Still Moving Toward a European FBI?” Intelligence and National Security (2014). Occhipinti has presented his research at the U.S. State Department and briefed newly appointed U.S ambassadors to the EU. In 2013, he was elected to the Executive Committee of the European Union Studies Association and co-founded its new section on the AFSJ.

Francesca BIGNAMI  (Member since July 1st 2015) George Washington University Law School, Washington, DC Full Professor (with tenure), 2008-present. Previously several academic positions notably at the  Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC (Full Professor (with tenure), 2005-2008 Associate Professor, 2003-2005 Assistant Professor, 2000-2003). Expert invited in several occasions by the European Parliament and author of several important essays on EU-US Comparative Law, data protection, fundamental rights, and issues such as, Formal versus Functional Method in Comparative Constitutional Law, (in Osgoode Hall Law Journal), Conflict and Cooperation in EU-US Regulatory Relations: The Case of Data Privacy (with Giorgio Resta), (in Law and Contemporary Problems), Theories of Civil Society and Global Administrative Law, forthcoming in Global Administrative Law (Sabino Cassese ed., Edward Elgar), Kagan ’s Atlantic Crossings (with R. Daniel Kelemen), forthcoming in The Politics of Legalism (Jeb Barnes & Tom Burke eds., Routledge), Social and Economic Rights as Fundamental Rights: National Report (with Carla Spivack), 62 American Journal of Comparative Law 561 (2014),  Rethinking the Legal Foundations of the European Constitutional Order: The Lessons of New Historical Research, 28 American University International Law Review 1311 (2013), Comparative Administrative Law, in The Cambridge Companion to Comparative Law (Mauro Bussani and Ugo Mattei eds., Cambridge University Press 2012)



Article 3
L’association a pour but la recherche, la diffusion de l’information et I’enseignement dans le domaine de la mise en ouvre de l’espace européen de liberté, sécurité et justice (ELSJ) et des droits fondamentaux tels que définis par Part. 6 du Traite sur l’Union européenne, y compris les droits contenus dans des traites internationaux mis en oeuvre en droit européen.
Elle peut accomplir tous les actes se rapportant directement ou indirectement a son but.
Elle peut notamment prêter son concours et s’intéresser a toute activité similaire a son but de la part d’autres
associations, réseaux travaillant sur base régional ou thématique dans les domaines de l’ELSJ.

Article 4
L’association a pour objets :
a)    la recherche scientifique, 1’expertise et la consultance;
b)    1’organisation de programmes d’enseignement ou de formation ;
c)    la publication d’ouvrages;
d)    1’organisation de congres ou de conférences,
e)    la réalisation de missions sur place
f)    la promotion d’association avec des buts similaires dans chaque Etats membre de I’UE ou d’autres pays intéresses au développement de l’ELSJ

4 thoughts on “FREE Group Members (situation as of March, 2023)”

    1. Dear Helen,
      I thank you very much for your support. In recent times I had no time to update it regularly as I was totally taken by my previous work as secretary of the LIBE Parliamentary committee. Needless to say I am also very keen in following the transatlantic dimension of the freedom security and justice area related policies.
      Best whishes

      1. Dear Edecapitany…love your blog…and i have got the questions..would you mind to explain me some things which are not very clear for me? these are:
        How does the principle of sincere (loyal) cooperation (Art. 4(3) TEU, previously Art. 10 EC) apply with regard to the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice? Is it sufficient that the Member State in question adopts implementing legislation where this is necessary?
        How has the CJEU defined the boundaries of the Member States’ obligations?
        thank you very muhc for your answer
        kindest regards, lucy

      2. Dear Lucy,
        you raise an extremely interesting question because the Freedom Security and Justice area is a domain where EU and MS build together a new public legal order so that a stronger cooperation is needed than in the internal market domain where the real “builders” are the economic and social forces.
        Moreover all the EU MS share more or less the same ordoliberal vision of the market whilst they have a very different history and constitutional models so that it is not easy to sort out a supranational European model which can accommodate everyone.
        It is not an hazard that the issue of protection of national constitutional identity and of the primacy of EU law has been recently raised by taking as reference the european arrest warrant (see the Radu Melloni jurisprudence).
        I am personnally convinced that more than in other EU domain of competence the Freedom Security and Justice area will inevitably require a proactive action at national level to implement EU law by improving at the same time the mutual trust between the MS in border policies (see the new phase of the Schengen “integration”) asylum policies and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
        Under this last perspective it is extremely interesting that the last mutual recognition measure adopted (on the European Investigation Order) explicitely make reference to the national constitutional traditions which should be taken in account much more than in the first generation of mutual recognition instrument (such as the European Arrest Warrant).
        Have a nice day and if you want discuss it further, you can join me via my mail:

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