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 10: Legislative Output after Enlargement: Similar Number, Shifting Nature

Edward Best and Pierpaolo Settembri

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


Edward Best and Pierpaolo Settembri The most visible aspect of the work of the European institutions is the production of legislation. At least superficially, it can also seem to be the most easily measurable and thereby objectively comparable over time. Efforts to measure change in the legislative output of the post-enlargement EU have led to a remarkable number of studies and to the collection of a large amount of new information (e.g. Dehousse et al. 2006; Sedelmeier and Young 2006; Hagemann and De Clerck-Sachsse 2007). A common message in these studies has been one of overall continuity between pre- and post-enlargement Europe: there appears to be more or less the same level of output as before. Dehousse et al. (2006) thus maintain that enlargement has not blocked the European machine and that, in certain respects, decision-making even became more expeditious after 2004. Hagemann and De Clerck-Sachsse (2007, pp. 34, 36) report that, in terms of the total amount of legislation passed per year, the Council ‘seems to have almost fully “recovered” from the significant increase in the number of actors’ and that, concerning voting behaviour, ‘official disagreement . . . has not been found to increase’. Yet such accounts do not address fully some underlying qualitative questions. Are there any observable trends regarding the nature and content of the acts adopted? For example, is there a significant drop in the production of Community legislation as compared to other forms of Community action or purely intergovernmental acts? In general,...

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