Representatives of member organizations:
Germany: Mr HEYDEMANN
Mr HÖHNE (treasurer)
Austria: Mr BECK
Mrs ZELLER (commissioned by the board)
Mr ZENS (Vice-President)
Finland: Mrs PIHLANTO
France: Mr VINCENT (President)
Greece: Mrs TZOVARIDOU-SKOULOUDI (Vice-President)
Italy: Mr MARIUZZO (Vice-President)
Sweden: Mr ALMEBÄCK
The associate members’ representatives:
Mr BECKER, President of the German, French and Italian judges’ association.
Apologies for absence:
Mr VIHERVUORI (Finland), having authorized Mrs PIHLANTO;
M.M BARLERIN and EVEN (France), having authorized Mr VINCENT;
Mr CLEMENT (France), person responsible for keeping up the website;
Mr DARAK (Hungary), having authorized M.ZENS;
M.M CHLEBNY and MIKOSZ (Poland), having authorized Mr VINCENT.
Mr SCHOCKWEILER, representing the Luxembourg administrative judges’association;
Mrs SEGAN, representing the Slovenian judges’ association.
M.M. Larsson etAlva, chair respectively of the Swedish judges’association and chair of the Lund district court, in the buildings of which the general assembly meeting is held,
wish the welcome to the participants.
The President thanks for their reception M.M Larsson and Alva, as Mr Almebäck, President of chamber in the administrative Malmö court, which took care of the material organization of the meeting, then presents the apologies of various colleagues who represent member associations, as well as Latvian and Slovak colleagues, who gave the documents necessary for the examination of their candidature by the general assembly.
The President, who had sent his report to the member associations at the beginning of the month, briefly points out the board activities.
He stresses his two principal reasons for satisfaction:Association’s expansion and strengthening of cooperation with the Council of Europe. He informs on the other hand encountered difficulties concerning cooperation with the European Commission, except for the field of public procurements, because, on the one hand, of the insufficiency of the means implemented by the association to arrive at a satisfactory level of "legal watching" on the texts and documents drafted by theEC, on the other hand,EC working methods-it means no committees open to our association- which make this cooperation less easy than that led with the Council of Europe.
M.Mariuzzo, designated intuitu personae as a member of the committee on the opening-up of public procurement, only advisory organisation open to persons other than the governmental representatives within the Commission departments, makes a statement on its action concerning the draft amendment of the”remedies” directive and, generally, all subjects discussed by the committee, including the private-public partnerships.
M.Zens reports the contacts undertaken on the spot with the Czech and Slovak colleagues, who in particular led to the application for membership of the new association of Slovak administrative judges.
Mrs Tzovaridou informs the assembly of her followed relations with the judges of the supreme court in Cyprus, only qualified Cypriot jurisdiction as regards administrative law.
After unanimous approval of the management reports of the board members, the President calls on the assembly to discuss the question of cooperation with the European Commission, which did not receive any satisfactory answer up to now, while it appears in the forefront of our statutory objectives.
The first aim looked for by the founders, which remains the objective of the current board, was to be the recognized interlocutor of the EC for all questions referring to the implementation by the judge of substantial and procedural administrative law.
This objective meets the EC wishes, and former Commissioner Vitorino agreed to recognize us this statute, but we must adopt the organization allowing to meet this aim and EC expectations in our connection.
EC top executives and other EC civil servants point out their wishes,on the one
hand, of knowing our lighted and impartial opinion on application by the judge of the legal instruments that it works out (directives and documents of interpretation such as "interpretative communications"), moreover, to see us accompanying the implementation of these provisions on,in particular to the stage of training.
This involves therefore us neither to position us as specialized lawyers by practising fine legal expertise on the texts at each stage of their development, mission exceeding moreover our means and well filled by EC and Parliament Legal Services, nor on the contrary to comprise us as a lobby while reacting only according to our corporatist interests of judges, which are to the surplus, at least currently, not directly concerned with the field of EC competences.
It is advisable on the other hand to be able to” answer present “as soon as judges’ opinion appears at the same time necessary and irreplaceable: We thus are in the middle of the reciprocal concerns of the EC and of our association when we invest ourselves on legal documents such as draft Directive on the procedures of recognition and withdrawal of the quality of refugee, amendment of the “remedies”directive on public procurements or draft of transposition Arhus convention into a directive on access to the judge as regards environment.
In this respect, the first message that we have to deliver is that of the confidence to be made to the judge. Any provision which, on the basis of an often exact official report alas, but due to problems of means or of wiorking-out emergency procedures or of implementation of judgments, of an insufficiency of judicial control, would tend to restrict access to the judge or to institute a parallel control mechanism, the coordination of which with the judge would be dubious, can only cause our most deliberate reserves.
Our contribution is also irreplaceable at the stage of the wording of certain procedure or substantial law provisions, which, confronted with the practice of the judge, will be able to cause from us valuable indications on its applicability, and thus give rise to draft amendments.
Without claiming of course a monopoly on this point as well as on the former ones, we have finally to take all our part in the diffusion and training efforts concerning the European administrative law, whether it is as lecturers or auditors.
It is advisable therefore to ensure the setting up and the effective operation of an international experts team ensuring the monitoring of entire field covered by administrative judge’s and dealed with by EC , acting in cooperation with the board , but without necessary preliminary solicitation of the latter.
After broad discussion, it is thus decided to reiterate on these bases the call to the constitution of teams of experts launched in September 2002, which had led to the designation of numerous national experts, but without those dealing with, with some exceptions, the "legal watching" their field indeed.
M.Höhne, new treasurer, presents the accounts established by Mr Zimmer, who ceased his functions at the end of 2004.
He stresses the delicate situation created by the too high cost of the meeting of young administrative judges held on february 2004, exceeding with it only the annual amount of the resources of the association, which resulted, in addition to to use the surplus of the previous exercises, on the one hand,in voting for an exceptional contribution of EUR 200, on the other hand, to be differed over 2005, up to EUR 1350, the refunding of the board members travelling expenses.
Thanks to a considerable reduction of the cost of the similar event having taken place in March 2005 and thanks to a perfect control of the travelling expenses of the board members, the financial situation at the day of the general assembly meeting became again satisfactory and will remain it for the year, on condition of course that all associations will pay in due course their annual contribution, which gives rise to a new recall of the treasurer with their intention.
Mrs Pihlanto and Mr Almebäck, auditors, certify the regularity of the accountancy held by Mr Zimmer, and the assembly gives him unanimously final discharges of his management.
Mr Schockweiler, member of the administrative court of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, presents the candidature of the Luxembourg administrative judges’association(ALMA), whose statutes were approved by its members on 10 March 2005, and which gathers the entirety of the fifteen magistrates of the administrative branch of the judiciary(5 in function in the administrative court and 10 in the first instance tribunal).
This candidature is accepted unanimously.
The President presents then the candidature of the Slovak administrative judges’ association and the individual candidatures of two Latvian colleagues, Mr.Lavins and Mr. Berkis, chair respectively of the administrative appeal court and of the
administrative tribunal of Riga.
The Slovak administrative jurisdiction, in the process of reorganisation, is made up of an administrative chamber within the supreme court and regional courts .The new association consists of 34 colleagues involving 80% of the Slovak administrative judges being members of the two degrees of jurisdiction.
The latvian administrative jurisdiction is separated from ordinary courts at the first two degrees (Court of Appeal and, for the moment at least, only one administrative tribunal ), a chamber of the supreme court playing the role of cassation court. There are currently 18 administrative judges in first instance and 9 in appeal .
The candidatures of the Slovak Association and of M.M Lavins and Berkis are accepted unanimously.
In order to take in account, on the one hand, the increasing activity undertaken with the Council of Europe, on the other hand, the growing interest showed by colleagues coming from Council of Europe member states not simultaneously EU member states, in particular Switzerland and Bulgaria, the President propose to amend the statutes to put on an equal footing the associations and persons which belong to both groups of countries , those coming out from not EU member states having up to now vocation only to statute of associated member without right to vote.
A second draft amendment has the aim of inserting in the statutes themselves the precision adopted last year by the general assembly meeting of Strasbourg according to which, in the absence of specific administrative judges’association, an option is opened between the adhesion of associations involving administrative judges as well as other judges and the adhesion of colleagues on an individual basis.
These two modifications are accepted unanimously. It however is pointed out precisely that other articles than Article 2, and in particular articles 1st and 5, should also be amended to introduce a reference to the Council of Europe. The board is entrusted to prepare a drafting in this direction.
For lack of time, the President returns in his report and in Mr.Mariuzzo statement for these activities which are the subject of regular information of the current member associations
of year. The board members are held in provision to answer any question about this point.
The topic selected this year was access to the judge of the non governmental organizations. Twelve judges representing six countries took part in. The participants, who had previously exchanged by Internet their respective contributions ,discussed about their domestic law and case-law practice on this important question, for which obvious differences are noted.
Both the accessibility of the place of the meeting and the rates granted by the d’Aguesseau foundation contributed to reduce the cost of this event in relation to the meeting of last year to our Trier head office. Nevertheless, this disadvantage having only partially been compensated for sending their written contribution by several non present delegations, the removal of any refunding of the travelling expenses meant restricting the number of participants.
It is therefore decided, on the one hand, to establish a flat-rate contribution of
EUR 100 for any participant, on the basis of two by country, moreover, to explore, concerning the new members from Central and Eastern Europe, the possibility of cofinancing of the European Commission by means of the TAIEX programme, which seems to be able to apply to this type of action.
The President points out that the new call for proposal launched by the EC at the beginning of this month to take part in this pilot programme voted by the European Parliament for all the judges has to give rise to application deposited at the latest on 1 July.
Four countries(Finland, France, Greece and Slovenia) confirmed today to be ready to take part in. The President states that he has to go to Brussels on 31 May in order to obtain deliberate confirmation of the terms of a previous telephone call ensuring it of the federation’s eligibility for this mechanism and a reply to numerous minutias.
First of all with regard to the questionnaire launched at the end of 2002 on the organization and the operation of the administrative jurisdiction, which constitutes an excellent synoptic outline of each national system, former Vice-President Erwin Ziermann, who had worked out it and had ensured the follow-up of it, gave to the President all the contributions.
Some among them requiring complements, and totality an updating, it is decided to ask each author to supplement them until the end September, after which they will be published on the Internet site, in order to constitute a permanent reference instrument being the subject of a periodic updating.New members will be requested to answer this questionnaire.
With regard to the specific studies covering a given topic the principle of which had been adopted to the last general meeting, Mrs Tzovaridou drew up a questionnaire concerning the administrative judges’ recruitment, which will be launched this year to member associations, the answers also being published on our Internet site.
Judges’ training is an essential action vector. It is advisable clearly to distinguish what we can make by our own means and our participation in the actions organized by our partners, in the implementation of which we can mainly contribute by the choice of participants/lecturers or the target-groups determination.
Mrs Zeller, who has been last November commissioned by the board for the financial support search, presents all the mechanisms implemented by theEC , except for the question of the exchanges of judges, directly treated by the President helped by the treasurer.
The most generous and most flexible one mechanism appears the TAIEX programme, reserved for the 10 new members of the European Union,valid until the end of year 2006.Il will be asked confirmation of the possibility of using this mechanism jointly with our own financing for the organization of the next meeting of young administrative judges. But it also is advisable, in partnership with the ERA, to envisage use of it on a large scale, for an event which could be reserved for the ten new Member States.
A broad possibility of financing is also given in the field of judges’training to competition law (Action 3C provided for by the common decision Parliament/Council n° 791/2004 on the financing of bodies and training actions has been entirely devolved with this objet). Several member associations declared theirselves favourable with this action for which a call for project will be launched at the beginning of year 2006.The 75% limit of EC financial support requires however the recourse to a partner such as the ERA, who have already put in work several action of training on the subject, and a partial involvement of other auditors.
In same conditions (70% maximum of financing emanating from EC ), an action could be implemented under the AGIS programme, certainly in theory reserved for criminal law, but likely to include the important field of administrative sanctions, which will have to be checked.
Another possible field constitutes asylum and immigration. If the ARGO programme specific to these questions is not directly accessible to the associations, other programmes exist, which implementation, to be envisaged with the international association of judges specialized in this field, seem however less easy.
The last field concerns the framework programme for cooperation in civil matters, which give rise regularly to calls for proposal. Numerous fields treated by the administrative judge pertain to this field in EC eyes. It remains however necessary to reveal the cooperation aspects between Member States, and the conditions of financement (60% maximum emanating from EC ) also require here to approach a partner.
The French colleague Marc Clément has succeeded Erwin Ziermann since the beginning of the year as a person responsible for the Internet site. He moreover is charged with the French version of the site in cooperation with the President. The Vice-President F.Mariuzzo will take care for its part to the update of the Italian version.
The President launches a call to designation of new colleagues entrusted to follow up german and english versions.
No technical or financial obstacle prevents in addition the opening to other languages of our website, intended site to become the essential method of diffusion of our work and of public information on our activities.
Deeming it desirable to hold our next meeting in one of the Central and Eastern European countries represented within the association, and taking into account the central geographical situation of Hungary, the President contacted the Hungarian administrative judges’association with a view to hold the next general meeting in Budapest. Hungarian colleagues are in agreement on the principle, but did not propose any precise date.
After consultation with the members present, it is wished the next general meeting to take place on 19 and 20 May 2006, or failing this on 26 and 27 May 2006.
If Hungarian colleagues cannot start on these dates, the next general meeting will be held in Rome to one of these two dates, according to the proposal made by F.Mariuzzo, the proposal to hold the general assembly meeting in a central or eastern european country then being deferred to 2007, because it is now necessary to obtain confirmation of the date in the most possible compared term.
Strasbourg, 13 June 2005.