Independence and Administration, between National Law and European Law

By Stefano Battini

What does independent administration mean? Do European law and national law mean the same thing when they use the term «independence»? Does this concept change meaning according to the context? How? And why?

This essay addresses these questions by conducting a comparative analysis of the mutual influences between the national and European legal order. First, the national roots of the European concept of independence are emphasized. Second, on the other hand, the European roots of the emergence and growth of the model of independent agencies in the national context are examined. Finally, the influence of the national model — imposed by European law — on the European administrative system itself are illustrated. In particular, the emergence of a «qualified» or «reinforced» concept of independence is noted. Overall, in this complex pathway of mutual influences, the independence of the administrative system in the European context tends to be strengthened.