The Role of Committees in the Policy-Process of the European Union

The Role of Committees in the Policy-Process of the European Union

Legislation, Implementation and Deliberation

Edited by Thomas Christiansen and Torbjörn Larsson

This book provides a comprehensive account of the role of the advisory, legislative and implementation committees involved in the policy-making process of the European Union. This is an aspect of EU politics that is often overlooked and remains under-researched, even though such committees can have wide-ranging influence in the policy-process.

Chapter 8: The Role of Implementing Committees

Guenther F. Schaefer and Alexander Türk

Subjects: law - academic, european law, politics and public policy, european politics and policy


Guenther F. Schaefer and Alexander Türk INTRODUCTION The vast majority of legal acts in the European Community are not adopted in a procedure provided for in the EC Treaty, but by the European Commission1 in the exercise of implementation powers conferred on it by the Community’s legislator. Most of these implementing acts are adopted by the Commission after a so-called ‘comitology’ committee, composed of civil servants of the Member States, has given its opinion on a draft presented by the Commission. Comitology committees deal with a wide variety of activities which qualify as implementation – they range from single case decisions and preparatory acts thereof at one end of the spectrum to the amendment of basic acts at the other end. Implementing measures can be divided into various categories (Schaefer and Türk, 2002): rule interpretation,2 rule application,3 rule-setting/rule-evaluation,4 approval of funds,5 the extension/new specification of funding programmes6 and information management.7 It is therefore not surprising that policy implementation covers a wide range of activities and deals with important policy issues that go beyond the merely technical regulation of the internal market. The practical and theoretical relevance of implementing committees in the EU’s policy process has raised considerable interest in the operation of the comitology system. This chapter gives an account of the important aspects of that debate. The next section will set out the constitutional framework in which comitology committees operate. These legal rules constitute, however, only a partial aspect of the working of...

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