chapter  9
15 Pages

An institutionalist perspective on EU committee decision making

ByJarle Trondal

There is a shortage of empirical studies on how international organizations work. This poses a challenge to the research community, because national parliaments, governments and central administrations are challenged by international organizations in day-to-day decision making. Some international organizations transform nation-state dynamics more than others, because they pose challenges to the Westphalian ideal of territorial state sovereignty (Biersteker 1999). The supranational and transgovernmental polity of the European Union (EU) is one tangible example. This chapter highlights the internal decision-making dynamics of the EU by analysing the identity and role orientation of EU decision makers. In particular, I analyse a specific segment of the Brussels bureaucracy, where different decision-making dynamics collide – the EU committees. These committees are composed of national and EU civil servants and they are thus adequate laboratories for studying what happens when different decisionmaking dynamics meet. The Commission expert committees (ECs) prepare decisions for the Commissioners, the Council working parties (CWPs) have a similar function for the Council of Ministers, while the socalled comitology committees (CCs) assist the Council in controlling delegated powers in the European Commission.