How the ‘Brussels Effect’ Could Shape the Future Regulation of Algorithmic Discrimination

Fabian Lütz

Duodecim Astra, Issue 1, 2021, pp. 142 – 163

Author description

About the author: Ass. iur. Fabian Lütz, Maître en droit (Paris), LL.M. (Bruges). PhD Candidate (Universitéde Lausanne). Legal Officer European Commission (2015-2020). Research interests: EU, International, Non-discrimination, Gender Equality and Competition Law; AI and Behavioral Economics.


The ‘Brussels effect’ is the phenomenon of globalised regulation triggered by the EU which conveys the content or the spirit of EU law beyond the EU jurisdiction through legal, political, or economic means. This article explores the Brussels effect to assess the reach of EU gender equality law regarding the future regulation of algorithmic discrimination. In the algorithmic age, where gender-based discriminations are increasingly occurring due to the use of AI within and outside the EU, the future of EU gender equality law depends more than ever on its capacity to promote gender equality globally through the external dimension of the EU. By scrutinising and reviewing available European and international policy documents, draft legislation on AI regulation and relevant literature, the article sketches out elements of an analytical framework and avenues for further research regarding how the Brussels effect could shape the future regulation of algorithmic gender-based discrimination.

First, it will be argued that the ‘Brussels effect’ can contribute to a global reach of EU gender equality law regarding the regulation of algorithmic discrimination. Second, the article discusses the global reach of local rules and the phenomenon that Artificial Intelligence (AI) blurs the lines between local jurisdictions when it comes to effective enforcement of algorithms to prevent discriminations. Third, the article will examine the EU’s role in shaping law worldwide by setting legal or political standards. Considering the interconnectedness of the world and the impact of discriminatory algorithms beyond national jurisdictions, the EU could play its role as rule and standard setter by ensuring a level playing field of minimum protection against algorithmic discrimination with a global reach.


Keywords: Algorithmic discrimination, Gender equality, Brussels effect, AI regulation, Biases and gender stereotypes

Full article: How the ‘Brussels Effect’ Could Shape the Future Regulation of Algorithmic Discrimination

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