Creating equal opportunities when allocating scarce permits requires a suitable degree of publication
Not entirely unexpectedly, it is evident from the 25 May 2016 opinion issued by Advocate General Widdershoven of the Council of State that the administration must take into account the formal principle of equality, i.e. the principle of equal opportunities, when allocating scarce permits.
Although this principle does not exclude any type of allocation process, including allocation based on a first-come, first-served basis, the administration must warrant a "suitable degree of publication" to create equal opportunities.
As such, information regarding the allocation process, the application deadline and the applicable criteria must be disclosed properly prior to the application period. In addition, the criteria must be phrased clearly, precisely and unambiguously. When granting permits, the criteria must be applied in the same manner to all applications. It is no longer possible to switch to a different allocation process. Furthermore, as a general rule, scarce permits cannot be granted for an indeterminate period of time, according to the Advocate General of the Council of State.
Read the 25 May 2016 opinion issued by Advocate General Widdershoven of the Council of State here.