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 9: Comitology and the EP’s Scrutiny of Commission Implementing Acts:

Ramela Lintner and Beatrice Vaccari

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


real parliamentary control? Pamela Lintner and Beatrice Vaccari* INTRODUCTION The idea that committees made up of unelected national officials – bureaucratic bodies – decide or at least influence the bulk of European decisions1 raises democratic concerns. In the EU’s unique institutional setup the power to adopt implementing acts upon delegation by the Council, and the EP in case of co-decision, lies with the European Commission. In this context, it is assisted and controlled by so-called ‘comitology committees’ composed of national representatives. Under the system governed by the 1999 Comitology Decision it is up to the Council to decide on the implementing measure proposed by the Commission in the case of disagreement between a comitology committee and the Commission. The European Parliament, on the other hand, from 1999, could only intervene in the process by adopting a Resolution stating its [political and] legal concerns via the so-called ‘right of scrutiny’. Its role has been reinforced recently with the modification of the 1999 Decision adopted in 2006 (Council Decision 2006/512/CE of 17 July). Neither Parliament nor the Commission disputed the establishment of committees with purely advisory functions but both have – for different reasons – claimed that committee procedures with a possible direct impact on the policy outcome would influence the institutional balance set up in the Treaty. Even though the legitimacy of the committees itself was already confirmed by the European Court of Justice in the 1970s,2 the legitimacy of the ‘outcome’ of comitology procedures and the extent of in...

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