Panel II: The Future EU Administrative Procedure Law: Issues of Content and Scope

This panel focused on the EU Administrative Procedure Law and was chaired by Jacques Ziller, professor of European Union Law at the University of Pavia, joined by Heidi Hautala, Vice-Chair of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance of the European Parliament, Herwig Hofmann, professor of European Law at the University of Luxembourg, Ian Harden, Honorary Professor at the University of Sheffield and Former Secretary-General of the European Ombudsman, and Marc Clément, Administrative Judge at the Administrative Court of Appeal of Lyon and former Member of the ELI Executive Committee. The aim of the panel was to discuss the necessity of adopting an EU Administrative Procedure Law, as this law could guarantee the rights and regulate the duties of EU citizens in their relations with EU institutions, and the possibility for ELI to work on some aspects of such a model law.

Heidi Hautala, a standing rapporteur at the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, said that a consistent and coherent Administrative Procedure Law will be beneficial for Europe. Since currently there are only principles that direct administrative procedures, according to Hautala, a law on administrative procedure would make these principles more visible. In her view, administrative law would be 'a vessel that brings the constitutional values and general legal principles from the various sources into everyday decision-making.'

Herwig Hofmann then explained that the ReNEUAL group, with the help of ELI since 2012, has been looking at policy areas in the EU and throughout Member States’ for examples of codification of administrative law to identify what the problems are and whether solutions could be found. The objections against codifying EU Administrative Procedure Law are based on the fear that the codification would lead to further complication or over-juridification of Administrative Procedure Law. However, many of those fears have proven to be unfounded.

Marc Clément emphasised that codification of Administrative Procedure Law might be needed to consolidate EU institutions and to restore the confidence of EU citizens in EU institutions. The question of the level to which the proposed regulation on Administrative Procedural Law should apply was addressed by Ian Harden. According to him, since the regulation proposal is partly based on the general principles of EU law as set out in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), these principles would continue to apply to the Member States’ administrations after the enactment of the regulation. Panellists also discussed the desirability of defining ‘administration’ or ‘administrative activity’ in the future regulation, and agreed that – based on the experience of the European Ombudsman – it makes more sense not to have a definition, as it might limit the scope of the regulation.

ELI, in cooperation with ReNEUAL and the European Parliament, envisages continuing the work done in this field, in order to address those challenges and contribute to the further development of EU Administrative Procedure Law.