EUDEL :Delegation of power in the EU in the post-Lisbon era: A quantitative analysis of comitology (2018-2021). Référence CSO2017-87683-P

Head of the Research Project : Prof. Ana Mar Fernández Pasarín

The project will develop consolidated research already conducted by Renaud Dehousse (2003) (European University Institute) and the Principal Investigator, Ana Mar Fernández Pasarín between 2008 and 2012 under the hosting of the Observatory of European Institutions of Sciences Po Paris and since then at the Autonomous University of Barcelona thanks to the funding of the EUCOM project: Democratización de la Unión Europea y decisión reglamentaria: un análisis cuantitativo de la comitología by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO, reference CSO2013-43684-P). Website of the EUCOM project: http://comitology.uab.cat

Our first research was a pilot study concentrating on executive decision-making in 2008. The main objective was determining the resources upon which the project may be based in a long-term perspective and testing, in particular, the availability of comprehensive quantitative data to grasp member states behaviour within executive committees (Dehousse, Fernández Pasarín and Plaza, 2011 and 2013). For this purpose, we started by collecting all voting procedures recorded in the Comitology Register for the year 2008 (N=728). This year was chosen for two reasons. In methodological terms, it has been chosen as a first year of reference in view of developing further comparative research along the period 2008-2012 and, in particular, between the pre and the post-Lisbon period. Actually, this year was the last one before the Lisbon Treaty, which produced a radical reform of executive powers in the EU.

This pilot study which documents the vote structures of 728 draft implementing decisions proposed by the Commission to member states representatives in committees within the framework of its executive delegated powers demonstrated that:

  1. Shadow zones and inconsistencies existed: The General Secretariat of the Commission has not completely succeeded in eliminating variations in data collection and transmission practices by the various services. This explains the heterogeneous and incomplete nature of the information included in the online repository.
  2. It would be necessary to extend these data to cover a multiannual period and, in particular, the post-Lisbon period (2009-2012);

Shortcomings and gaps observed in existing contributions and ongoing research agendas on EU studies lead us to conduct the EUCOM research project between January 2014 and June 2017 (Democratización de la Unión Europea y decisión reglamentaria: un análisis cuantitativo de la comitología, MINECO, 01/2014-06/2017, reference CSO2013-43684-P). In this second project, we created a comprehensive data base on decision-modes within committees. Concretely, we systematically collected, processed and compared the voting results of 4.600 implementing proposals’ decisions, covering all the policy domains, procedures and committees included in the Comitology Register of the Commission for the period 2009-2012 (Dehousse, Fernández Pasarín y Plaza Font, 2014; Fernández Pasarín, 2016, Fernández Pasarín, 2017).

This second study revealed the need of extending our data to the period 2013-2017 in order to better capture the post-Lisbon reform effect (full entry into force of the new comitology system in 2014). In terms of academic projection, it also revealed the added value of keeping our data base constantly updated. These are the main points addressed by the current EUDEL Research Project (Spanish Ministry of Economy, 01/01/2018-31/12/2021). Starting from the findings of our previous studies on the frequency of consensus within the executive committees of the EU in 2008 and between 2009 and 2012, which unveiled the existence of contested votes in over a quarter of member-state representatives’ deliberations, this research project seeks to provide a measure of the intensity of opposition to the Commission’s draft implementing proposals before and after the post-Lisbon reform of comitology in December 2010.

Using data from the comitology register (2013-2017), the project aims at analysing the structure of contestation, building an index of opposition and exploring the factors that may explain variations. Attention will be paid to procedural, policy types and sociological arguments