From its inception, the academic study of EU administrative law has relied heavily on doctrinal categories, concepts and principles, borrowed from the administrative law of the Member States. It has largely preferred research agendas such as the Europeanisation of national administrative law or the development of common European principles derived from national administrative laws. Legal doctrine has also engaged in the critique of EU administrative law when it fails to account for the normative standards that national administrative law must usually observe. Whereas all these constitute important research agendas, they reproduce in particularly acute terms a familiar paradox. While the existence of a European administration and administrative law beyond the state cannot be seriously disputed today, legal doctrine tends to consider them, implicitly or explicitly, from the perspective of the administrative law of the nation-state. The so-called “touch of stateness” has had a firm grip on EU administrative law, even though it includes unique aspects that lack any precedent in national laws. The article considers, and proposes a methodological approach to address, the ways in which preconceptions and normative expectations originating in national law have conditioned, and indeed prevented, the deeper doctrinal development of EU administrative law.