International and European Impulse with regard to the Creation of Autonomous Public Bodies: An Emerging Trend

Stéphanie De Somer

Abstract


This paper aims to raise awareness about the role of international and European law in the creation of administrative bodies that enjoy political independence. To that end, it gives an overview of the most important sources of this trend of ‘international impulse’. It furthermore aims to critically assess the validity of the arguments underpinning these initiatives. It distinguishes between three main motives that are generally believed to inspire these provisions: ensuring credibility in the implementation and monitoring of substantive obligations of international and European law, allowing for expertise to play a role in the decision-making process and avoiding conflicts of interest. It then argues that these rationales are often insufficient as justifications for the degree of political independence that is being required. Consequently, these requirements fail to meet the test of striking a proper balance between the principle of (representative) democracy and the benefits of political autonomy.

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