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Towards a European Administrative Procedure Act

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Abstract:

Under the joint responsibility of the Member States to implement EU law, administrative law systems of the EU are converging and a common body of EU administrative law is emerging. Most debates on this process of EU administrative law integration have focused on differences and divergences between national systems vis-à-vis the EU system. The concept of administration at the level of the EU, however, is difficult to compare to that in use in most domestic systems in continental Europe. In this contribution, we bring the lens of the United States (U.S.) approach to the debate. The problems and challenges the EU administration faces do resemble those which confronted the federal administration in the U.S. more than 50 years ago. The article discusses some of the parallels between the U.S. and EU system and zooms in on the EU's 'problem zones': preparation of regulation – in particular the role of participation and the use of evidence therein – and the position of agencies. On the basis of experiences with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in controlling the U.S. administration and the federal agencies, the contribution then reflects on the desirability of a general EU Administrative Law Act, especially in view of the upcoming extension of judicial review of general rules the Lisbon Treaty will most likely bring. The conclusion is in short that the American APA offers food for European thought and that a lot could be gained with a European styled APA 'light version'.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7590/REAL_2009_02_02

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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  • Review of European Administrative Law (REALaw) is a law review, published twice a year (online and in print), in the English language edited at the Department of Administrative Law and Public Administration of the University of Groningen and the Institute of Constitutional and Administrative Law and the Europa Instituut of Utrecht University. Review of European Administrative Law provides a forum for the discussion of issues in the development of European administrative law. The journal aims to cover all aspects of European administrative law, reflecting the role of the European Union, the role of domestic legal orders and their mutual relation and influence.
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