Towards an Integrated Administration
Edited by Herwig C.H. Hofmann and Alexander H. Türk
Chapter 3: ‘Glass Half Empty or Glass Half-full?’: Accountability Issues in Comitology and the Role of the European Parliament after the 2006 Reform of Comitology
1 Christine Neuhold INTRODUCTION 1. Ever since the 1960s, the European Commission has played a major role as regulator in the process of implementing European legislation. Just looking at the most recent figures on implementing measures one will find that the Commission adopted more than 2500 such legal acts per year. As is well known, the Commission is not alone in this domain of regulating the implementing process, but is assisted and controlled by ‘comitology’ committees composed of civil servants from the administrations of the Member States. The system has been under pressure for reform almost from its inception. Especially the European Parliament (EP) has been highly critical of the complex system and of – as it claimed – the undemocratic procedures involving two levels of bureaucrats who, to make matters worse, can under certain circumstances refer measures to the Council (European Parliament (EP), 1961). One has to note that the call for reform of the system, notably from the EP but also from the European Commission, has not been unheard: first it was reformed in 1999 and just recently in 2006. In this context, a new regulatory procedure has been agreed upon, which from the side of the EP is described as ‘a huge breakthrough in parliamentary control over EU legislation’ and as ‘improving accountability 1 An earlier version of this chapter was published in the European Integration online Papers (EIoP), Vol. 12, 2008, see http://eiop.or.at/eiop/index.php/eiop/ article/view/2008_001a. 65 66 Legal challenges in EU administrative law . . . of the whole Community...
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