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Alexander Balthasar*


Foreword to the ELI-SIG Papers


In June 2017 and in June 2018, the then newly formed ‘Administrative Law Study and Interest Group’ of the European Law Institute (ELI) met in Budapest, at Andrássy University, for two conferences. The main idea was – as it is in general the remit of ELI – to meet colleagues from all parts of Europe (several local universities, AUB, ELTE and CEU, included) and to discuss in such an inspiring climate matters of common interest. Whereas the first conference had a somewhat general focus (starting with ‘generalia and fundamentalia’ and then tackling such a classical topic as “the right to good administration“ as well as various fields of ‘administration in action’, ranging from mutual recognition to the impact of independent agencies, from access to documents to environmental law and to such a burning issue as migration, the second one centred on the Commission‘s White Paper on the Future of Europe [COM(2017) 2025 of 1 March 2017] and its possible impact on administrative law.

Moreover, the conferences gave the opportunity to visit the Kúria (2017) and the Hungarian Constitutional Court (2018) and thus to make direct contact with the presidents of these courts, Péter Darák and Tamás Sulyok, respectively. On the other hand, we also had, as a participant in the second conference, a member of the European Political Strategy Center of the European Commission and thus actually first-hand information on the most recent ideas and developments in our field.

Whereas it is, therefore, quite true that the principal purpose of these two conferences was to build bridges and to exchange thoughts, I am very grateful that vice dean Pál Sonnevend of the ELTE Law Faculty – in his capacity as co-organiser of these conferences ‑ offered the additional opportunity to publish a fully-fledged written version of the presentation in this journal. You will therefore find four contributions assembled in this issue – some more are still in the pipeline.

I do hope that you will enjoy reading and I would be glad if you could be motivated by this to join ELI in general and our group in particular – our Europe needs scientific cooperation and enhanced mutual understanding, perhaps today even more than in former decades.

* Alexander Balthasar is Visiting Professor of Public Law, Andrássy University Budapest, Coordinator of the Study and Interest Group of the European Law Institute 2016–2018.