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The 'Costanzo Obligation' and the Principle of National Institutional Autonomy: Supervision as a Bridge to Close the Gap?

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The 'Costanzo obligation' implies that national administrative authorities are obliged to solve conflicts between provisions of national law and provisions of European law in favour of the provision of European law, when necessary by leaving the provision of national law unapplied. It is paradoxical that this obligation is directly addressed to administrative authorities, as European law is generally not concerned with the internal state structure of the Member States. This article investigates whether the key to solve this paradox may be found in the possibilities that the central governments of the Member States have to supervise their administrative authorities. This article focuses on supervision in France, Germany and the Netherlands by the central government with regard to acts or decisions, adopted by administrative authorities. The article aims to answer the question: can the current supervisory powers close the gap between the Costanzo obligation and the principle of institutional autonomy?
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-06-01

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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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