Better Regulation: Holding Martin Selmayr Accountable
VerfBlog, 2018/9/11, DOI: https://doi.org/10.17176/20180911-104839-0.
4 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2018 Last revised: 21 Sep 2018
Date Written: September 11, 2018
This time was supposed 'to be different', at least this was the motto of the 2014 European Parliament elections campaign. With less than a year before the next European elections, the time is ripe to examine how different this EU political cycle has actually been. Emboldened by the Spitzenkandidaten process – which established for the first time a link between the outcome of the EU elections and the presidency of the EU Commission –, the Juncker Commission emerged as the most political yet. To shrug off the label of technocratic institution – historically insulated from citizens’ preferences –, the new Commission asked EU citizens to judge its operation by its ability ‘to deliver solutions to the big issues that cannot be addressed by the Member States alone’. While the Better Regulation Agenda might have improved the Commission’s public accountability – with both citizens and stakeholders being better informed about and engaged with EU policy-making –, without however increasing its responsiveness to public preferences. This is the case at the input, throughput and output stage. Rather, the techno-political approach to policymaking – which characterizes the Juncker’s Better Regulation – might have paradoxically led to a compression of participatory democracy and somehow chilled stakeholder engagement. At a time of unprecedented contestation of the EU project – a trend which is combined by a record-demand for new forms of political representation –, it appears paradoxical that the EU – an early promoter of participation – is missing out the chance to seize the momentum to diversify and redesign its participatory structures being busy delivering on its electoral promises no one will ever judge.At the very same time the Juncker Commission has been striving to develop its own, autonomous democratic credentials, its choice to embrace a set of well-defined institutional mechanisms that reward expert judgment over political adjudication appears at odds with its newly-acquired political nature.
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