Understanding the Global Regulatory Process
Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Francesca Bignami and David Zaring
Chapter 20: The integrated administrative law and governance of the European Union
This chapter analyzes the fast evolving system of administrative law and governance of the European Union (EU). It argues that the EU's current administrative governance mechanism can only be understood by considering the changing allocation of the authority to regulate between, on one hand, the states that comprise the union, and, on the other hand, the European bureaucracy in Brussels, as well as other, including, increasingly, private, sources of law. The way the European Union has managed this issue over time has been complex and varied, and has resulted in an effective administrative structure, but one that has faced criticism regarding the legitimacy of the enterprise. The claim here is that the complexity is attributable to the way that new approaches have been fitted into older ones, and because of the capacious view taken by stakeholders of the type of law suitable for the authorization of regulation. The chapter first offers a historical narrative that explains the emergence of the EU’s integrated administrative and governance structures. They are then described and analyzed from three distinct yet occasionally overlapping perspectives—functional, organizational, and procedural. The functional point of view looks at the tasks, objectives, and effects of regulatory governance in the EU; the idea is to understand an administrative transformation through its ends and goals. The organizational perspective emphasizes the structure of the institutions, bodies, and actors engaged in undertaking such tasks; this looks at the transformation through its means.
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