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uni'wissen 01-2012_ENG

composed of a group of professors from out­ standing universities from 15 European nations. The network draws on the fundamental research of Schneider’s colleague Jürgen Schwarze, ­professor of German and foreign public law, ­European law, and international law at the Uni­ versity of Freiburg, and expands on it by placing the focus on the new information technology- based infrastructures of the European adminis­ trative network. The Same Rules for the Same Procedures The goal of the project is to bring the current sector-specific regulations into line, thus improving the cooperation in the European administrative network. In particular, the project aims to relieve the burden on the European legislative organs by presenting to them standardized rules – on ­issues like the right of those concerned to be heard or the exchange of information between agencies – that can be written into legislative texts. ReNEUAL is thus composed of experts in various fields of law, allowing it to treat problems from several different perspectives. The network strives to formulate regulations in such a way that they are applicable to as many fields of law as possible and can function alongside the most important national legal systems. Schneider, for instance, heads a work group within the network that deals primarily with information management. This is an area in which a properly functioning European administration is particularly crucial, says the jurist: “When a problem arises in a cer­ tain country, whether with a drug or a food product, it is important for reliable information to be commu­ nicated over the border as quickly as possible so that other countries have a solid basis on which to react to it.” Although ReNEUAL views itself primarily as a network for excellent research, it also seeks con­ tact with legal practitioners in order to ensure that regulations it later recommends are not only suitable in theory. In March 2012, the experts thus attended an international conference at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. The conference was organized by European Ombuds­ man Nikiforos Diamandouros, who helps citizens strative and information law at the University of Freiburg. What this means in the case of the ­European Union (EU) is that in order to enjoy the advantages of integration, the European economic administration needs to deal with its problematic consequences. Although EU law has an abun­ dance of provisions for emergency preparedness or risk management at its disposal, they are only valid in specific sectors or regulatory domains. In addition to a general product safety code regu­ lating things like toys, for instance, there are also special codes intended specifically for the safety of food and drugs. Depending on which sector is involved, the administrative jurisdiction may lie with any of several directorates-general of the European Commission, various committees of the European Parliament, or a Council of Minis­ ters with a rotating presidency. The Administrative Burden Is Growing In the outcome, there are often very different regulations for identical or at least similar legal problems – such as the question of how to orga­ nize hearings before an administrative decision or the exchange of information between national agencies and European administrative offices – and the authority of these regulations is often ­undermined by loopholes. In addition, the adminis­ trative management of the single market ­depends on the interaction between European and national legal norms in 27 member states whose adminis­ trative practices sometimes differ greatly from one another. The administrative burden is growing, and the legal system is becoming more compli­ cated and less transparent for lawmakers, agen­ cies, and companies as well as for citizens. The situation is similar to what the national legal order in many countries looked like before they codified general rules for administrative procedures. As the legal committee of the European Parliament recently criticized, this state of affairs is no longer acceptable for a democratic EU ­administration run in accordance with the rule of law. In order to address these problems, Schneider and his colleague from Luxembourg Prof. Dr. Herwig Hofmann founded the Research Network on EU Administrative Law (ReNEUAL), which is “We want to simplify administrative law on the European level, not infringe on national law or undermine the influence of the states” 37