Rhinard, Mark. (2003) “Committees in the European Union: An Empirical and Normative Assessment”. In: UNSPECIFIED, Nashville, TN. (Unpublished)
This paper examines European Union (EU) committees in two parts. The first part presents an empirical overview of the three types of committees that constitute what may be called the “EU committee system.” After examining Commission expert groups, Council working parties, and Comitology committees to elucidate their key traits and primary roles in the policy process, the first part of the paper demonstrates that despite diverse roles and variations in constitutional and procedural formality, the different committees play equally influential roles in the policy process. This section concludes that the committees make an essential contribution to the politics and policy of the EU. The second half of the paper turns to a more normative assessment of committees. In light of growing public hostility toward committees, this section searches for normative strategies to redress the legitimacy deficit of committee governance. This part of the paper reviews the existing normative debate over committees but rejects the implied reform strategies as impractical and unrealistic. As an alternative, five models traditionally used to legitimize administrative processes are applied to the committee system. While individually insufficient, together the five models offer a realistic set of reform options capable of boosting the legitimacy of committee governance while preserving the features of EU committees that are so crucial to the EU policy process.
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