The Institutions of the Enlarged European Union

The Institutions of the Enlarged European Union

Continuity and Change

Studies in EU Reform and Enlargement series

Edited by Edward Best, Thomas Christiansen and Pierpaolo Settembri

How have the main institutions and decision-making processes of the EU responded to the arrival of new member states? This book assesses the actual state of the EU institutions in the years after the 2004 enlargement, examining each of the main institutional actors as well as trends in legislative output, implementing measures and non-legislative approaches. The contributors outline the key changes as well as patterns of continuity in the institutional politics of the EU.

Chapter 9: The Committee of the Regions: Multi-Level Governance after Enlargement

Simona Piattoni

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


Simona Piattoni INTRODUCTION The 2004/2007 enlargement of the European Union was expected by many to amount to a veritable ‘big bang’ for the institutional structure of the Union. The sheer number of new member states, the consequent increase in Union population (but decrease in per capita GDP), the augmented diversity of the languages spoken, the lack of familiarity of many of these new member states with the trappings of democratic politics and international relations – all these factors induced many commentators to anticipate that this round of enlargement would be like no other before it. Certain formal institutional changes were carried out in advance of enlargement in order to prepare the Union for the arrival of the new member states (Dinan 2003; Steunenberg 2001). However, since institutions are governed not just by formal and codified rules of decision but also by informal relations and norms of appropriateness (March and Olsen 1989; Christiansen and Piattoni 2003), enlargement was nevertheless expected to have an impact, above all, on the institutional performance of the Union. This chapter explores whether the 2004/2007 enlargement has changed the inner workings of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and its interrelation with the other EU institutions. While only ‘consultative’, the CoR is nevertheless an institution ‘of some importance’ (Warleigh 1997) because it is the main channel through which regional and local authorities make themselves heard in EU policy-making (Hooghe 1995; Hooghe and Marks 1996; Marks et al. 1996). It is also an important vehicle for the socialization...

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