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German Research Institute for Public Administration

The Transformation of the national administrative System

The European Administrative Space is not built in a political, legal or institutional vacuum. Rather, the European Administrative Space is built upon the existing national administrative systems, each of which has very different structures, processes, and cultures.

In order to jointly implement of Europeanised policies new coordination and integration mechanisms have come into existence. These mechanisms partially supersede national administrative traditions and routines, but also partially take them into special consideration.

The main aspects of the transformation of national administrative systems in the European Administrative Space are: The formal and informal cooperation of national and supranational administrations, the increasingly important harmonisation of missions between the national administrations, and the difficulties of bipartite administrative legal protection in the facing of the increasingly integrated transnational administrative.

What are the constitutional and administrative conditions for cooperation between national and supranational bodies? Which problems arise in legal protection before national courts and the courts of the European Union, and which solutions are conceivable? How is the coordination between the member states and between the member states supranational agencies and the EU authorities designed? Which qualities and capacities are required of the national administration in order for them to optimally cooperate in composite European administrative procedures while still being able to maintain the highest level of national administrative autonomy?

Could it sometimes even be an incentive for individual member states to become effectively and intensely involved in European administrative coordination in order to "export" their own national practices, institutions, and solution procedures through the mechanisms of Europeanised coordination? Would this allow the uploading state to preemptively avoid potential adjustment costs to their own system?

In addition, it seems to be increasingly necessary to pay attention to the designing of Europeanized processes and structures so that the practices of any given member state are "compatible" with those of European or supranational partners. In this way the necessary coordination in the European Administrative Space can be optimized at relatively low cost. The terms of this mostly informal "competition" and its institutional consequences for the national administrations have to be analyzed in this context.

Looking at the transformation of national administrative systems, it is therefore necessary to ask how the administrative division of labor between the supranational level and the national authorities works and to consider its effects on national government task sharing. Specifically, it has been proposed that vie European integration certain elements of the government, such as the federal chancellery (or equivalent institutions in other places, e.g., the prime minister services) together with the Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Finance, may see increased importance and power at the expense of other ministries (so-called "executive-core-thesis").

In so way, the capacity to exercise parliamentary control over the executive on the national level may decline. The question here then is what effects the increasing exchange of administrative personal between the member states and between the national and supranational administrations has on the German administration.
Which abilities and qualities should be built or expanded in order to ensure optimal performance in the changing policy or regulatory field, ensuring a closer Union while also guaranteeing the controlling influence of national authorities?

Programme Director

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Stelkens

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Stelkens




Prof. Dr. Cristina Fraenkel-Haeberle