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Title: The European Parliament and Delegation to Comitology
Authors: Héritier, Adrienne
Moury, Catherine
Keywords: European Union
Principal-agent theory
Transactions costs
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: CIES – ISCTE
Series/Report no.: CIES e-Working Paper
Nº 40/2008
Abstract: In this article we argue that that the delegation of implementing power to the Commission changes due to the fact that, under co-decision, two legislators (the Council and the EP) must agree to delegate. We first show that, with the introduction of co-decision in environmental policy, the legislators have relied more extensively on delegation. This indicates that the EP and the Council sought to save the political transaction costs associated with detailed legislation.. Moreover, the finding that increased delegation preceded the ratification of the Amsterdam Treaty shows that the Council – anticipating its relative loss of power by having to share legislative power with the EP - was in a rush to delegate as much as possible to the Commission before the entry into force of co-decision. This is in accordance with a redistributive power-based bargaining argument according to which the Council prefers to delegate to the Commission, over which it has some control through comitology rather than sharing the legislative power with the EP. We also claimed that with increasing formal powers in comitology the EP will less oppose delegation. Our results support this hypothesis, but call for some qualification: the EP opposes delegation less, if the increase in competences is important. If, however, it is only minor, it does not lead to less opposition to comitology. Quite the contrary, the EP appears to be prompted to systematically introduce amendments to restrict the scope of delegation. Which in turn may be used as a leverage in future negotiations over the revising of the rules governing comitology.
Peer reviewed: Sim
ISSN: 1647-0893
Appears in Collections:CIES-WP - Working papers

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