CORDIS - EU research results

National institutional autonomy within the EU legal order: uncovering and addressing its distinctive appearances, origins and impact on Member States' administrations

Project description

Exploring the boundaries of national institutional autonomy within the EU legal framework

Although the EU recognises the national institutional and administrative autonomy of its Member States, EU legislation is gradually imposing stricter organisational requirements on many of those States' administrative structures. The EU-funded EUDAIMONIA project seeks to uncover the different factors influencing the Member States' administrative design decisions and conceptualise the role EU law plays in that regard. It aspires to map and compare EU laws' impact on and influence over Member States' administrative designs across 18 domains of regulation. By its completion, the project will have the necessary data to propose theoretical modifications as well as policy recommendations.


Despite significant advancements in European integration, the institutional design and organisation of administrative structures implementing and enforcing EU law had traditionally remained the responsibility of EU Member States. Over the past decade, however, EU legislation has increasingly come to impose more organisational requirements on those Member States’ administrative structures. That evolution is most remarkable as EU law has long recognised the existence of a principle of national institutional/administrative autonomy. That principle is to guarantee Member States’ freedom to designate and structure the administrative bodies responsible for the application and enforcement of EU rules.

How far does the EU’s more extensive involvement in Member States’ administrative design decisions actually reach and can one find parallels between different fields of regulation? If so or if not, what are the implications for our understanding of institutional autonomy as a principle of EU (administrative) law? So far, legal scholarship, including the PI’s previous work on EU market supervision, has paid only scarce attention to those important questions.

The principal objective of this project will be to analyse the scope of Member States’ administrative autonomy and to uncover, explain and conceptualise the limits that are imposed on it by EU law. To do so, it will first of all map and compare EU law’s influence over Member States’ administrative designs across 18 domains of regulation influenced by the EU. Since the traditional legal scholarship toolkit insufficiently allows to grasp the different factors having given rise to Member States’ administrative design decisions, the project will subsequently rely on actor-network theory (ANT) to uncover those factors. Using that particular research methodology, new and more extensive data obtained through in-depth case studies and questionnaires will allow to formulate theoretical modifications and policy recommendations.

Fields of science

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 497 687,00
4000 Liege

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Région wallonne Prov. Liège Arr. Liège
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 497 687,00

Beneficiaries (1)