Towards a European Administrative Procedure Act

Review of European Administrative Law, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 3-35, Europa Law Publishing, 2009

34 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2009 Last revised: 14 Sep 2011

See all articles by Anne Meuwese

Anne Meuwese

Tilburg University

Ymre Schuurmans

Leiden University

Wim J. M. Voermans

Leiden University - Leiden Law School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 26, 2009


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’.

Keywords: European administrative law, regulatory impact assessment, regulation, governance, notice and comment procedure, better regulation, stakeholder participation, EU agencies, Administrative Procedure Act, comitology, judicial review, transparency, accountability, Lisbon Treaty

JEL Classification: K1, K19, K39, K4

Suggested Citation

Meuwese, Anne C.M. and Schuurmans, Ymre and Voermans, Wim, Towards a European Administrative Procedure Act (October 26, 2009). Review of European Administrative Law, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 3-35, Europa Law Publishing, 2009, Available at SSRN:

Anne C.M. Meuwese

Tilburg University ( email )


Ymre Schuurmans

Leiden University ( email )

Postbus 9500
Leiden, Zuid Holland 2300 RA

Wim Voermans (Contact Author)

Leiden University - Leiden Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 9520
2300 RA Leiden, NL-2300RA

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