The post-Lisbon battle over comitology: Another round of the politics of structural choice

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Series Details No.03, 2011
Publication Date 2011
ISSN 1725-6755
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The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty has presented the three EU institutions with a rare opportunity to completely re-design the system of control of the Commission’s delegated powers. Hitherto, the Commission’s ability to adopt implementing measures was controlled via the by now well-known comitology system, that has undergone only minor changes since it was introduced in the early 1960s. Since the new Treaty distinguishes between delegated and implementing acts, and also specifies that the rules of the game for implementing acts have to be decided via a co-decision regulation, all institutions attempted to secure strong control positions in the newly emerging system. Now that the new system has been finally agreed upon, this paper asks the qui bono question: Who benefits from the new system, and how did those actors get what they wanted? In our analysis we treat the negotiations on the new system as a game of structural choice, and trace back the course of the negotiations through a close analysis of formal and informal documents and interviews. Although in the end we find much support for our hypotheses, we find that the course of events in some respects has gone further than we theoretically expected.

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