EU Administrative Governance
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EU Administrative Governance

Edited by Herwig C.H. Hofmann and Alexander H. Türk

This book is a unique contribution to the understanding of the reality of government and governance in the European Union (EU).
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Chapter 14: Tools for the Control of Political and Administrative Agents: Impact Assessment and Administrative Governance in the European Union

Gerard C. Rowe


Gerard C. Rowe1 INTRODUCTION The claim is frequently made – it seems increasingly in the context of the EU – that political and institutional developments are being driven by a ‘political elite’ or a number of ‘political elites’, rather than by the citizens of the Union. Such rather banal claims demand little attention, much less rebuttal, since they seem implicitly to deny the need for, and the role of, methodological and institutional pluralism in the achievement of democratic goals. There is in fact an inevitable role for (political) elites in the formation, development and running of all complex organisations and systems. In no large organisation would much be achieved without them. A key challenge of law and institutional analysis is to develop methods and structures for steering and controlling them. This chapter addresses one such methodology in the public context, the mechanism of so-called legislative impact assessment (LIA). Recent decades have seen the adoption of LIA in many jurisdictions to varying degrees, that is procedures for scrutinising regulatory policy, and legislative and other measures. These involve the usually ex ante, and sometimes ex post, examination of legislative or regulatory proposals, relying on (some variant of) cost-benefit analysis or related techniques, measuring them against a variety of standards. LIA is in effect a particular procedural step (or set of steps) within more general, often less well defined procedures or processes. In other words, in relation to the development of policies or of measures to implement them, LIA is one piece of...

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