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.

Chapter 3: Exercising voice: interinstitutional cooperation and internal organization

Simona Piattoni and Justus Schönlau

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

Extract

Looking at the Committee of the Regions (CoR) as the institutional channel for a particular kind of voice leads us to the question how exactly this consultative body can contribute to the exercise of the different democratic activities that Urbinati has identified. How can the CoR contribute to the formation of judgment either actively, as activating or proposing (voice), or passively, as receiving or surveiling (control), at European Union-level decision-making? Clearly, the ability of a given political institution to exercise these functions depends on both formal and informal structures of the political system, which determine the way in which voice is formed and fed into the democratic process and control is exerted. In the case of the EU we are facing an emerging polity that is characterized by a range of ongoing processes of institutional and constitutional development. The arrival of an additional voice, namely that of the local and regional level, is a significant element of these developments, and the way the CoR has been ‘inserted’ into the EU system and has subsequently developed as part of institutional architecture is indicative of the contribution it can make to the quality of EU democracy. In this chapter, we give an account of the way in which the CoR has developed both its own internal structures and procedures and its relations with other parts of the EU and global governance systems.

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