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 11: Implementing Committees in the Enlarged European Union: Business as Usual for Comitology?

Manuela Alfé, Thomas Christiansen and Sonia Piedrafita

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

Extract

Manuela Alfé, Thomas Christiansen and Sonia Piedrafita INTRODUCTION EU legislation is not complete without the implementation of the legislative acts that have been adopted by the Council and the Parliament. Implementation requires, in many cases, actions at the national level, for example when it comes to the transposition of EU directives. However, beyond this decentralized mode of implementation, over time the centralized implementation of Community acts has also become essential to the functioning of the EU’s administrative system. Centralized implementation involves the delegation of powers to the European Commission to adopt executive measures, and the supervision of the Commission’s use of these powers through committees of member state representatives. The term ‘comitology’ has been coined to describe this system of about 250 implementing committees and their interaction with the European Commission. Institutionally speaking, comitology has an oddly hybrid nature, combining the intergovernmental dimension of bringing together national representatives, comparable to Council working groups, with the supranational character of the Commission which is chairing the meetings and ultimately adopting the executive measures submitted to the relevant committee. This, together with the high volume of decisions taken in this realm (2500–3000 executive measures are adopted annually),1 gives comitology a special place within the institutional structure of the EU. The question addressed here is whether the ‘big bang enlargement’ of 2004/2007 has had a significant impact on comitology, and whether any observable changes to the comitology system can be related to the arrival of the new member states. As...

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