Essay Competition

European Future Challenge

The European Future Challenge is organised in cooperation with ELSA Austria (European Law Students Association).

Essay Competition

The European Future Challenge is organised in cooperation with the European Law Students Association (ELSA). If you are a law student or young professional in one of the following countries, you are invited to participate: Austria, Bulgaria Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.

The essay competition focuses on issues of sustainability and "Green Innovation" in European law”. For our 2024 essay competition, please choose one of the following topics. Participants are also free to submit / summarise academic work they have already written on these topics.

Our following sub-questions on the topics are only intended as guidance. Feel free to cover all, concentrate on some or add new ones. We are interested, in particular, in your critical view and innovative ideas of what could also be considered by lawmakers in the future.

  • Competition Law and Sustainability: Against the backdrop of the European Green Deal, the European Commission has signalled its intention to make competition law more sustainable: Is there a potential conflict between sustainability goals and the protection of competition? How is competition law enforced in cases that raise sustainability issues and how have competition authorities in the EU (especially in your jurisdiction) considered them within the existing analytical framework? Is your national competition authority / lawmaker trailblazing its own sustainability agendas (see the new horizontal guidelines of the European Commission on sustainability versus national initiatives, such as the amendment to the Austrian Cartel Act and the Sustainability Guidelines of the Austrian Federal Competition Authority; the Sustainability Guidelines of the Dutch Competition Authority and case law in Germany)? What instruments exist and could be used by your competition authority or other public bodies to take sustainability concerns into account? And, most importantly, what is your (critical) view of this topic – what additional innovative ideas should be considered in the future?


  • Balancing the Benefits and Risks of Artificial Intelligence: In a world marked by constant technological advancements and breakthroughs, the European Union had been hesitant to establish a legal framework to counteract the negative effects of such rapid progress. This all changed with the emergence of artificial intelligence ("AI"), which has in record time started to leave its mark on all spheres of life, bringing unimaginable benefits but also significant dangers. Fast forward a few years and after being approved by the Council, we are now on the brink of witnessing the first-ever Artificial Intelligence Act ("AI Act"). Why is it necessary to regulate AI, and which concerns does the new AI Act hope to allay? Given the human-centric nature of the AI Act, should the scope of application be widened to include additional domains? Do you support the category-based approach and its implementation in the AI Act? Does the AI Act's methodology provide a robust foundation for identifying high-risk AI systems within the legal framework, offering legal certainty for businesses and other operators? Are the obligations imposed on operators introducing high-risk AI systems to the EU market overly stringent, and how might these obligations impact SMEs? Does the AI Act grant excessive power to enforcement bodies for utilizing AI in public enforcement activities? Furthermore, does the AI Act ensure that public authorities will adhere to fundamental rights when employing AI technologies?


Considering the unprecedented rate of development of AI, does the AI Act have the ability to effectively and swiftly adapt in order to remain relevant and afford protection? How would you enhance the flexibility of the AI Act to ensure its safeguard capacity? Does the AI Act effectively balance the promotion of innovation with the protection of fundamental rights and safety? Could the AI Act potentially impede innovation and research within the EU? Will the EU remain competitive in the global race for technological advancements against countries without such strict AI regulation? What is the international dimension of the EU's approach? What are your thoughts on the success of the AI Act? What would be the potential challenges that could lead to the AI Act not being successful?


Please send your essay, a short motivational letter and your CV to golegal(at)  by 31 May 2024.

You can find the conditions of participation and the detailed formatting specifications here.

Prizes will be awarded for the best essay in each participating country (National Award) and for the overall winner selected from all essays submitted (International Award).


National Award Winner

Each national winner will be awarded a prize of EUR 500.

Each National Award Winner is invited to the award ceremony, which will take place in Vienna and will be offered the opportunity to apply for an internship at a CERHA HEMPEL Office.

International Award Winner

The international winner will be awarded a prize of EUR 1,000 in total.

The International Award Winner is invited to the award ceremony in Vienna. In addition, the International Award Winner will be offered the opportunity to apply for an internship at a CERHA HEMPEL office. The location of the internship can be chosen by the winner.


Each participant will receive a certificate of attendance.

If you have any questions, please contact or