Shaping EU Policy from Below
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Shaping EU Policy from Below

EU Democracy and the Committee of the Regions

Simona Piattoni and Justus Schönlau

This book looks at the way in which the Committee of the Regions (CoR) can influence EU policy making from below, despite its relatively weak position in the decision-making process. Bringing together theoretical arguments about the central role of the formation of judgment in addition to the more conventionally emphasized expression of will, with an up-to-date account of the CoR's institutional development and activities, Simona Piattoni and Justus Schönlau make a strong case not to overlook the significance of the Committee's contribution to EU-level democracy.
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Chapter 6: The Committee of the Regions and the euro crisis: exerting control on behalf of substate interests

Simona Piattoni and Justus Schönlau


We have seen in the previous chapter how the Committee of the Regions (CoR) actively participated in articulating voice on behalf of territorial interests in the debate on cohesion policy. We analysed it as an illustration of the CoR’s role in the formation of the active aspect of judgment as ‘activating and proposing’ (see Chapter 1). We also underscored how the CoR, in keeping with its formal consultative powers, cannot directly intervene on the letter of legislative proposals, but can only exert ex-post surveillance through the Early Warning System in defence of subsidiarity and proportionality once a law has been approved and before it comes into effect (see Chapter 4). Nevertheless, we have emphasized how, thanks to its consultative role and through the channels that it has established both formally and informally with the other EU institutions, the CoR is capable of ‘shaping policy from below’ by contributing its insights on the expected consequences of EU legislation ‘on the ground’. This is precisely the kind of input that the Commission expects from the CoR – as sketched out in the White Paper on EU Governance – which the CoR provides by drawing from its detailed knowledge of the economic, social and institutional situation at the terminals of EU policy-making: the substate levels. The CoR, however, never simply limits itself to purely technical opinions, but rather also offers a sensitive political analysis of what EU legislation means for democracy in Europe.

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