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August 12 , 2008

Bureaucrats as Law-makers

Committee decision-making in the EU Council of Ministers


The Council of Ministers is one of the most powerful institutions of the European Union (EU) and plays a major role in the European policy-making process. Drawing on formal theory and combining quantitative and qualitative methods in an innovative fashion, this book provides novel insights into the role of national bureaucrats in legislative decision-making of the Council of the EU.

The book examines and describes the Council of Ministers’ committee system and its internal decision-making process. Relying on a wide quantitative dataset as well as six detailed case studies in the policy areas of Agriculture, Environment, and Taxation, it provides a comprehensive and systematic assessment of the extent to which national bureaucrats act as law-makers in the Council. It also examines the degree to which theories on collective decision-making, delegation, and international socialization can account for variation in the involvement of bureaucrats. Investigating how often and why national officials in working parties and committees, rather than ministers, make legislative decisions in the EU, this book addresses the implications of bureaucratic influence for the democratic legitimacy of Council decision-making. The author finds that ministers play a generally more important role in legislative decision-making than often assumed, alleviating, to some extent, concerns about the democratic legitimacy of Council decisions.

Bureaucrats as Law-Makers will be of interest to students, scholars and practitioners in the field of European Union politics and policy-making, legislative decision-making, intergovernmental negotiations and international socialization.

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