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Bargaining, arguing and functional differentiation of decisionmaking : the role of committees in European environmental process regulation

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Gehring, Thomas

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Abstract "Committees play an important role in the European Community. In quantitative terms, the estimated number of committees existing under the auspices of the Community institutions ranges between several hundred to a thousand. The committees are regularly attended by more than 50,000 people: scientists, civil servants and representatives of interest groups. In qualitative terms, committees provide the foundation for 'bureaucratic' integration theories that emphasise the emergence of a European bureaucratic elite or envisage the 'fusion' of national and European state bureaucracies. Based on empirical investigations into committee decisionmaking in the foodstuffs sector, the members of the Bremen research project have not only claimed that governance by committees is located somewhere between intergovernmentalism and supranationalisirp but they also believe that some core institutional features of the EC should be read as 'supranational versions of deliberationist ideals'. In combination with European law, committees are expected to transform 'strategic interaction into deliberative problem-solving'. In this way, a form of governance by committees emerges that need not necessarily reflect an awkward political compromise - in fact, it may approach a normative ideal that is not even attained within the political systems of the Member States. Committees therefore represent a particular form of institutionalised decision-making for European governance which is only just beginning to be understood. However, it remains largely unclear whether, and why, committees matter for European governance. They will generally be meaningful if they influence the outcomes of decision-making processes. Thus, the question arises, how can committees affect decisions in ways that non-committee decision-making processes cannot, and in what kind of mechanism is their influence rooted? In particular, do the participating actors behave differently in committees than outside, and if so, why and under which conditions? This last question cannot be tackled without a distinct concept of interaction among the participating actors." (excerpt)
Keywords EU; EC; governance; bureaucracy; empirical research; institutionalization; Europe
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; European Politics; Special areas of Departmental Policy
Method documentation
Collection Title EU committees: social regulation law and politics
Editor Joerges, Christian; Vos, Ellen
Document language English
Publication Year 1999
Publisher Hart
City Oxford
Page/Pages p. 195-217
ISBN 1-901362-68-X
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne