Shaping EU Policy from Below

Shaping EU Policy from Below

EU Democracy and the Committee of the Regions

New Horizons in European Politics series

Simona Piattoni and Justus Schönlau

This book looks at the way in which the Committee of the Regions (CoR) can influence EU policy making from below, despite its relatively weak position in the decision-making process. Bringing together theoretical arguments about the central role of the formation of judgment in addition to the more conventionally emphasized expression of will, with an up-to-date account of the CoR's institutional development and activities, Simona Piattoni and Justus Schönlau make a strong case not to overlook the significance of the Committee's contribution to EU-level democracy.

Introduction: EU democracy and the Committee of the Regions

Simona Piattoni and Justus Schönlau

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public policy

Extract

This book explores the ways in which the Committee of the Regions (CoR) shapes the European Union’s (EU) policymaking by forging links with other EU institutions and by influencing the way in which policies are framed and debated. Our argument is that the influence of the CoR goes well beyond what can be measured by looking at the formal impact of CoR opinions on EU legislative decision-making (McCarthy 1997, Tatham 2008) and that this influence can only be detected if observation is extended to the networks of formal and informal relations that the CoR builds with other EU, national or subnational institutions and with other organisations and networks that are involved in EU policymaking (see also Carroll 2011, Hönnige and Panke 2013). Based on this observation, we argue that the way in which this influence is developed and exerted reveals the CoR’s contribution to establishing a new type of multilevel democracy at EU level (cf. Möllers 2011). It is a form of democracy that has at its core the two fundamental activities that together define democracy – channelling voice and exerting control – without, however, relying on the conventional chains of delegation and accountability found in parliamentary democracies.