Advertisement

Comparative European Politics

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 577–595 | Cite as

Paper keepers or policy shapers? The conditions under which EP officials impact on the EU policy process

  • Christine NeuholdEmail author
  • Mathias Dobbels
Original Article

Abstract

The Lisbon Treaty has substantially extended the co-legislative rights of the European Parliament (EP). This raises the general question of how the EP organizes itself internally in order to be able to maximize its input into the legislative process. In the quest of information processing, it is likely that officials inside the EP gain in importance. The article thus aims to clarify the conditions under which these EP officials impact on the EU policy process and as such can influence policy outcomes. The analysis is based on case studies from five different policy domains. The observations reflect that under certain conditions EP officials play a steering role in the EU decision-making process. As such they can have a significant impact on the policymaking process, defying the dualistic Weberian approach according to which politicians take decisions and officials merely implement.

Keywords

European Parliament officials Ordinary Legislative Procedure bureaucracy 

References

  1. Barberis, P. (2011) The Weberian legacy. In: A. Massey (ed.) International Handbook on Civil Service Systems. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, pp. 13–30.Google Scholar
  2. Baron, F. (2013) Civil servants: How to support the political level: The French Case. In: C. Neuhold, S. Vanhoonacker and L. Verhey (eds.) Civil Servants and Politics. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  3. Bauer, M. (2008) Reforming the European Commission. Journal of European Public Policy 15 (5): 708–725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bauer, M. (2009) Impact of administrative reform of the European Commission: Results from a survey of heads of unit in policy-making directorates. International Review of Administrative Sciences 75 (3): 459–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benedetto, G. (2005) Rapporteurs as legislative entrepreneurs: The dynamics of the codecision procedure in Europe’s parliament. Journal of European Public Policy 12 (1): 67–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Benedetto, G. (2013) The EU budget after Lisbon: Rigidity and reduced spending? Journal of Public Policy 33 (3): 345–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blischke, W. (1981) Parliamentary staffs in the German Bundestag. Legislative Studies Quarterly 6 (4): 533–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brandsma, G.-J. and Blom-Hansen, J. (2012) Negotiating the post-Lisbon comitology system: Institutional battles over delegated decision-making. Journal of Common Market Studies 50 (6): 939–957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Checkel, J.T. (2005) It’ s the Process Stupid! Process Tracing in the Study of European and International Politics Abstract. Oslo: ARENA, Working Papers, no. 26: pp. 1–29.Google Scholar
  10. Collier, D. (2011) Understanding process-tracing. Political Science and Politics 44 (4): 823–830.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Corbett, R., Jacobs, F. and Shackleton, M. (2011) The European Parliament, 8th edn. London: John Harper Publishing.Google Scholar
  12. Curtin, D. and Egeberg, M. (2008) Tradition and innovation: Europe’s accumulated executive order. West European Politics 31 (4): 639–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dobbels, M. and Neuhold, C. (2013) ‘The roles bureaucrats play’: The input of European Parliament (EP) administrators into the Ordinary Legislative Procedure: A case study approach. Journal of European Integration 35 (4): 375–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. DeGregorio, C. (1994) Professional committee staff as policy making partners in the U.S. Congress. Congress & the Presidency 21 (1): 49–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Egeberg, M., Gornitzka, A., Trondal, J. and Johannessen, M. (2013) Parliament staff: Unpacking the behaviour of officials in the European Parliament. Journal of European Public Policy 20 (4): doi: 10.1080/13501763.2012.718885 495–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. European Commission. (2008) Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on novel foods and amending Regulation (EC) No 257/97. COM(2007) 872 final, Brussels, Belgium, 14 January.Google Scholar
  17. European Communities. (2004) Staff regulations of officials of the European Communities, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/personnel_administration/statut/tocen100.pdf, accessed 29 May 2013.
  18. Gailmard, S. and Patty, J. (2007) Slackers and zealots: Civil service, policy discretion, and bureaucratic expertise. American Journal of Political Science 51 (4): 873–889.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hammond, T. and Knott, J. (1996) Who controls the bureaucracy?: Presidential power, congressional dominance, legal constraints, and bureaucratic autonomy in a model of multi-institutional policy-making. The Journal of Law, Economics and Organization 12 (1): 119–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Harfst, P. and Schnapp, K (2003) Instrumente parlamentarischer Kontrolle der Exekutive in westlichen Demokratien. Discussion Paper SP IV 2003-201, Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB).Google Scholar
  21. Heritier, A. (2012) Institutional change in Europe: Co-decision and comitology transformed. Journal of Common Market Studies 50 (1): 38–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hix, S., Noury, A. and Roland, G. (2009) Voting patterns and alliance formation in the European parliament. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 364 (1518): 821–831.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Högenauer, A.-L. and Neuhold, C. (2013) National Parliaments after Lisbon: Administrations on the rise. OPAL Online Paper Series, 12.Google Scholar
  24. Huber, J. (2000) Delegation to civil servants in parliamentary democracies. European Journal of Political Research 37 (3): 397–413.Google Scholar
  25. Kassim, H., Peterson, J., Bauer, M and Connolly, S. (2013) The European Commission of the Twenty-first Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kreppel, A. (2001) The European Parliament and Supranational Party System: A Study in Institutional Development. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lowi, T. (1979) The End of Liberalism. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  28. Mahoney, H. (2010) European Council seen as winner under Lisbon Treaty. EU Observer 27 May.Google Scholar
  29. Marshall, D. (2012) Do rapporteurs receive independent expert policy advice? Indirect lobbying via the European Parliament’s committee secretariat. Journal of European Public Policy 19 (9): 1377–1395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McCubbins, M.D., Noll, R.G. and Weingast, B.R. (1987) Administrative procedures as instruments of political control. Journal of Law, Economics & Organization 3 (2): 243–277.Google Scholar
  31. Neunreither, K. (2006) Elected legislators and their unelected assistants in the European Parliament. Journal of Legislative Studies 8 (4): 40–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Olsen, J. (2006) Maybe it is time to rediscover bureaucracy. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 16 (1): 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Page, E. and Jenkins, B. (2005) Policy Bureaucracy: Government with a Cast of Thousands. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Patterson, S.C. (1970) The professional staffs of congressional committees. Administrative Science Quarterly 15 (1): 22–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pegan, A. (2011) European Parliament and its administration: What do we know and where do we go next? Paper presented at the EGPA Annual Conference, Bucharest, Romania.Google Scholar
  36. Peters, G. (1998) Comparative Politics – Theory and Methods. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Peters, G. and Pierre, J. (2004) (eds.) Politicization of the Civil Service in Comparative Perspective -The Quest for Control. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Rasmussen, A. (2012) Time to decide: The effect of early agreements on legislative duration in the EU. European Integration online Papers 16 (11): 1–20.Google Scholar
  39. Ryle, M.T. (1981) The legislative staff of the British House of Commons. Legislative Studies Quarterly 6 (4): 497–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Scully, R., Hix, S. and Farrell, D.M. (2012) National or European Parliamentarians? Evidence from a New Survey of the members of the European Parliament. Journal of Common Market Studies 50 (4): 670–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shackleton, M. (2000) The politics of co-decision. Journal of Common Market Studies 38 (2): 325–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Trondal, J. and Peters, G. (2013) The rise of European administrative space: Lessons learned. Journal of European Public Policy 20 (2): 295–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Weber, M. (1978) Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretative Sociology. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  44. Winzen, T. (2011) Technical or political? An exploration of the work of officials in the committees of the European parliament. The Journal of Legislative Studies 17 (1): 27–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wlezien, C. (2005) On the salience of political issues: The problem with ‘most important problem’. Electoral Studies 24: 555–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Interviews

  1. Interview 1 with a representative of one of the Member States, Brussels, 7 February 2012.Google Scholar
  2. Interview 2 with a representative of one of the Member States, Brussels, 22 February 2012.Google Scholar
  3. Interview 3 with an official from one of the EU institutions, Brussels, 16 March 2012.Google Scholar
  4. Interview 4 with an MEP, Brussels, 13 April 2012.Google Scholar
  5. Interview 5 with an MEP, Brussels, 16 May 2012.Google Scholar
  6. Interview 6 with an official of the European Parliament, Brussels, 03 May 2012.Google Scholar
  7. Interview 7 with an official of the European Parliament, Brussels, 16 May 2012.Google Scholar
  8. Interview 8 with an official of the European Parliament, Brussels, 17 May 2012.Google Scholar
  9. Interview 9 with an official of the European Parliament, Brussels, 24 May 2012.Google Scholar
  10. Interview 10, with an official of the European Parliament, Brussels, 25 May 2012.Google Scholar
  11. Interview 11, with an official from one of the institutions, Brussels, 12 April 2011.Google Scholar
  12. Interview 12, with an official of the European Parliament, Brussels, 27 May 2011.Google Scholar
  13. Interview 13, with a representative of one of the Member States, Brussels, 14 April 2011.Google Scholar
  14. Interview 14, with an official of the European Parliament, Brussels, 02 May 2011.Google Scholar
  15. Interview 15, with an official from one of the institutions, Brussels, 10 June 2011.Google Scholar
  16. Interview 16, with an official from one of the institutions, Brussels, 24 June 2011.Google Scholar
  17. Interview 17, with a representative of one of the Member States, Brussels, 13 March 2012.Google Scholar
  18. Interview 18, with a representative of one of the Member States, Brussels, 17 April 2012.Google Scholar
  19. Interview 19, with an official from one of the institutions, Brussels, 12 December 2011.Google Scholar
  20. Interview 20, with an official from one of the institutions, Brussels, 06 August 2012.Google Scholar
  21. Interview 21, with an official of the European Parliament, Brussels, 26 July 2012.Google Scholar
  22. Interview 22, with an official of the European Parliament, Brussels, 31 October 2012.Google Scholar
  23. Interview 23, with an official from one of the institutions, Brussels, 25 April 2012.Google Scholar
  24. Interview 24, with an official of the European Parliament, Brussels, 31 October 2012Google Scholar
  25. Interview 25, with an official of the European Parliament, Brussels, 19 October 2012.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EU Democratic Governance
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Handelskaai 29 bus 3BrusselsBelgium

Personalised recommendations