March 23, 2010
Transparency is a buzzword which the EU institutions use all the time. But do they practise it?
Utrecht University published last year a study which concluded that, “Expert bureaucrats decide on most EU regulations after proposal has been adopted.”
Experts from the Commission and Member States in so-called comitology groups are responsible for deciding the content of almost half of all EU regulations after the actual decision has been made by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
The report argues that the extensive use of expert bureaucrats creates big problems for scrutiny and accountability.
The report notes that there are around 250 expert committees in the EU, which together take over 2 000 decisions ever year. 40% of these experts are not directly accountable to anyone – a problem made worse by the technicality of the subjects these groups deal with.
Article 1 of the Treaty on European Union says:
“…in which decisions shall be taken as openly as possible and as close as possible to the citizens”.
Article 11 says:
“1 The institutions, by appropriate means, give citzens and representative associations the opportunity to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action.
2 The institutions shall maintain and open, transparent and regular dialogue with representative associations and civil society.
3 The European Commission shall carry on broad consultations with parties concerned in order to ensure that the Union’s actions are coherent and transparent.”
There seems to be little connection between Articles 1 and 11 of the Treaty and comitology.Author : Stanley Crossick