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Developing Administrative Principles in the EU: A Foundational Model of Legitimacy?

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This paper argues that administrative legitimacy has been neglected as having the potential to provide a foundation for the legitimacy of the EU institutions. The development of the administrative law‐type mechanisms within the EU is almost exclusively focused on the activities of the Member States as the main implementers of Union law. This has left an administrative gap at the level of the EU institutions, with little evidence of determinative horizontal administrative principles to be found in either the Treaties or the case‐law of two European courts. Where the courts have acted, they have adopted a sectoral and highly circumscribed approach to the development of administrative norms. The paper examines whether administrative principles can be harnessed as a mechanism for increasing the EU's legitimacy and, if so, how these principles fit with the institutions' approach to the legitimacy question. Post Lisbon, can evidence be found within the Treaties that the administrative route to legitimacy has not been entirely foreclosed? This paper proposes a model of administrative legitimacy for the EU level of administration that provides a foundation for the interconnected concepts of good governance and political legitimacy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Cardiff University

Publication date: 01 March 2012

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