EU Administrative Governance
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EU Administrative Governance

Edited by Herwig C.H. Hofmann and Alexander H. Türk

This book is a unique contribution to the understanding of the reality of government and governance in the European Union (EU).
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Chapter 4: Comitology in Environmental Policy: Practical Experiences between Efficiency and Legitimacy

Gerhard Roller


* Gerhard Roller In the complex European governance system different governance structures have emerged in recent years. Numerous Networks, Agencies and Committees exist that have different tasks and competences and that work under different legal forms. Networks usually have a more informal approach and do not have executive competences, like the IMPEL network for example.1 Furthermore, Agencies have become increasingly common as a new bureaucracy that replace in some fields national executive competences.2 The environmental policy field is an important example of the significant role of these new governance structures. There, also, Committees play an important role. They are present at every stage of the Community’s policy-making process.3 They advise, consult and even take decisions that sometimes have far-reaching consequences. Broadly speaking, ‘government by committee’ is now a reality in the Community. In this chapter, the first two types of governance structures are not dealt with. Instead, particular attention is paid to the so-called ‘comitology’ committees,4 which play an increasingly significant role in Environmental policy. The history of comitology has been already analysed by numerous authors.5 The comitology committees are characterised by the fact that they are established by a basic instrument (a regulation or a directive) by the Council (and EP), they operate according to a specific legal procedure and they deliver opinions on draft implementing measures submitted to them by the Commission. Members of the committees are civil servants of the Member States. The overall number of committees has risen significantly in recent years.6...

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