Schaefer, Guenther F. and Egeberg, Morten and Korez, Silvo and Trondal, Jarle (2000) The Experience of Member State Officials in EU Committees: A Report on Initial Findings of an Empirical Study. EIPASCOPE, 2000 (3). pp. 1-7.
[Introduction]. Committees are an essential part of the functioning of modern governance. Some are official, whilst others are unofficial or even ad hoc. They play a crucial role in the daily operation of the European system of governance by providing expertise in policy development and decision-making, linking Member States’ governments and administrations with the European level, as well as increasing the acceptance of European laws and programmes in the Member States. In various guises, committees are active at every stage of the European political process – assisting the Commission in drafting legislation, preparing the dossiers on which the Council takes decisions and supervising the implementation of EC law by the Commission. The latter are generally referred to as comitology committees, although the term is sometimes extended to include all committees. Since 1995, EIPA has organised seminars for Member State officials on the role of committees in the EC political process. In the spring of 1997 we started to distribute a questionnaire to those participants in the seminars who have been involved in one or more committees at EC level. It was designed to get an overview of the experience of Member State officials in EU committees: in what kind and how many committees they were involved, how frequently meetings were taking place, how long they lasted, what languages were used, etc. The major part of the questionnaire focussed on the question of how Member State officials viewed the roles they performed in these committees and how they perceived the roles performed by other participants. The paper reports some initial findings. The first part will summarise some practical aspects: time spent on EU matters; availability of documentation and interpretation facilities; language use. The second part concentrates on: officials’ loyalties and identities; their role perception when participating in EU committees; the question of coordination.
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