Competence Creep and General Principles of Law

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The application of general principles of law may lead to an extension of EU competences. The present contribution analyses this subtle process of creeping competences. A number of more specific themes illustrate both the mechanisms and concerns at stake: the circumstances under which general principles of law apply to Member State's actions, the effect of general principles on the procedural autonomy of the Member States, the creation of positive obligations through general principles of law and the review of national measures in the light of general principles. During the drafting of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, creeping competences through general principles was very clearly an important issue. Various provisions have been adopted which aim at stopping the creep. Therefore, the final paragraph of this contribution reflects briefly on the relationship between the competence creep, general principles of law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2010

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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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