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From Intergovernmental Bargaining to Deliberative Political Processes: The Constitutionalisation of Comitology

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This article argues that the irresistible rise of Comitology is an institutional response to the deep-seated tensions between the dual supranational and intergovernmentalist structure of the Community on the one hand, and its problem-solving tasks on the other. Comitology has accordingly provided a forum in which problems are addressed through evolving and novel processes of interest formation and decision-making. However, neither legal nor political science have been able properly to evaluate the workings of the committee system, both disciplines remaining trapped within normative structures and traditional methodologies ill-suited to the analysis of these institutional innovations. As a consequence, this article advocates the trans-disciplinary study of Comitology, and furthermore argues that the two disciplines might be drawn together by the concept of ‘deliberative supranationalism’: being on the one hand a normative approach which seeks both to preserve the legitimacy of national democracies and to set limits upon the traditional Nation State within a supranational community; and on the other, a theoretical tool which is nonetheless responsive to and accomodating of ‘real-world’ phenomena.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centre for European Law and Politics, Bremen

Publication date: September 1, 1997


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