Project description

Democratization in the European Union and reglamentary decision-making: a quantitative analysis of EU comitology (Ref: CSO2013-43684-P)


The EU studies literature on comitology has often focused on the nature of the decision-making dynamics at work within executive committees. Debates on this topic include the question of whether the decision-making style prevailing in committees reproduces the institutional dynamic that drive Council negotiations during the legislative phase of the policy-making process. Moreover, what are the main features of executive committee governance? Is the decision-making style homogeneous across committees or are there visible differences depending on sectoral specificities or the procedures followed? Analysis of these issues has led to different interpretations. Drawing on sociological institutionalism, one part of the literature maintains that informal rules, collective deliberation and thus a consensus-oriented culture largely prevail and characterize the essence of the decision-making process .Another part of the literature, rooted in a rational institutionalist perspective, on the contrary considers that working methods at the executive stage of the policy process typically reproduce the intergovernmental bargaining dynamics that dominate the ministerial level. Some scholars have qualified these views by drawing attention to the changing nature of committees over time (Brandsma 2010; Dehousse 2003) and particularly to the contrast between the original institutional design of the committees, which is largely infused by intergovernmental precepts, and their actual functioning, which seems to leave more room for a logic of deliberation.

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