How Transparent are EU 'Comitology' Committees in Practice?

European Law Journal, Vol. 14, No. 6, pp. 819-838, February 2008

38 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2010

See all articles by Gijs Jan Brandsma

Gijs Jan Brandsma

Utrecht University

Albert Meijer

University of Utrecht

Deirdre Curtin

Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance; European University Institute, Department of Law, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies

Date Written: February 2008

Abstract

Much of the debate on transparency is normative in nature: more transparency is ‘good’ from the perspective of democratic accountability. After all without information on what decisions are being taken and by whom it will not be possible for various accountability forums to hold actors to account. This article goes beyond the rhetoric on the need for more transparency in the political system of the European Union and examines in practice as a matter of empirical research how much transparency there really is. It also goes beyond a purely legal approach to access to information that depends upon the active participation of citizens and others in challenging refusals by specific institutions to grant access to specific documents. We are interested rather in the question to what extent the institutions are systematically and pro-actively providing access to their documents via the Internet. We focus on the Register of Comitology of the European Commission as a relatively limited case study and within this context limit ourselves further to a study of all the documents published in the latest year for which a benchmark was available - 2005. Are all comitology documents that exist in fact made available through this public register?

Keywords: accountability, administrative actors, agencies, comitology, control and delegation of powers, European Union

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Brandsma, Gijs Jan and Meijer, Albert and Curtin, Deirdre M. and Curtin, Deirdre M., How Transparent are EU 'Comitology' Committees in Practice? (February 2008). European Law Journal, Vol. 14, No. 6, pp. 819-838, February 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1540579

Gijs Jan Brandsma

Utrecht University ( email )

Vredenburg 138
Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands

Albert Meijer

University of Utrecht

Vredenburg 138
Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands

Deirdre M. Curtin (Contact Author)

European University Institute, Department of Law, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
50-139 Firenze
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.eui.eu/DepartmentsAndCentres/Law/People/Professors/Curtin.aspx

Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance ( email )

P.O.Box 1030
Amsterdam, 1000 BA
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://home.medewerker.uva.nl/d.m.curtin/

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