Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance

Fundamental Rights as Institutional Politics in the EU

25Apr2013 14:00 - 15:00


The Treaty of Lisbon includes a number of much celebrated improvements emphasising fundamental rights, transparency and citizen participation, and good administration in the EU. Three years after the entry into force of the new Treaty it seems that the state of these key questions is not greatly improved, and might be even worse than before the new Treaty.


This supports the point that fundamental rights - no matter how fundamental they are claimed to be - are open-ended, and therefore secondary to institutional politics. Fundamental rights involve questions relating to political priorities and resources, for example. 

For this reason, the proper question to ask is what kind of politics the EU is running: a policy justified with reference to fundamental rights might not always be an example of 'good' politics. These questions will be examined in relation to fundamental rights in the EU at large, and in particular the state of public access and democracy in the EU, and the possibilities of adopting a Regulation on good administration for the Union institutions, bodies and agencies.

The speaker

Päivi Leino-Sandberg holds an LL.D. from the University of Helsinki (2005) and an LL.M. (with distinction) from the London School of Economics (2001) and is Adjunct Professor of EU Law at the University of Helsinki. Since 2005, she has also acted as a legal adviser for the Finnish government (Counsellor of Legislation, EU law) specialising in constitutional and institutional EU law and EU external relations law.  Dr Leino-Sandberg has represented the Finnish government in various EU negotiations in her areas of expertise, including the negotiations for the Treaty of Lisbon (intergovernmental conference of 2007 and legal advisers' group), Regulation No 1049/2001 on public access to documents and the so-called PNR-agreements, and acted as an expert for the European Parliament when preparing its legislative initiative on a future Article 298 TFEU regulation on good administration. In addition, she frequently acts as an expert for the Finnish Parliament, has published extensively in her areas of expertise and is greatly tempted by the more critical approaches to human rights.


Attendance is free of charge. For organizational reasons, please sign up for the meeting by sending an email to

Published by  ACELG