This article contributes to the debate on technocratic governance in the European Union. It examines the relationship between scientific expertise and policy-making in the foodstuffs sector and scrutinises the hypothesis that the European Commission follows a technocratic model in the food safety regulation, and that this model is applied to the new European food law. To this end, a typology is developed to distinguish between decisionist, technocratic and reflexive governance. Interestingly, the findings of this article suggests that there is not only a shift from technocratic toward decisionist but also to reflexive governance. To some extent, this change can also be observed in the general debate on European governance. In conclusion it is argued that tensions arise between the three ideal-type models of scientific expertise for policy-making, and that the European model is contested by the international level.
A striking feature of the discourses surrounding the negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and developing states is the starkly contrasting pictures given of the role and nature of the EU. The Union is either portrayed as an angel, an actor with altruistic objectives, concerned primarily with the economic and social development of the ACP countries, or as a demon, an actor driven by self-interest with an hidden agenda and using confrontational tactics. The first image is mainly held by Commission officials, the second by NGO representatives. In this article, I establish the existence of the two contrasting images, try to explain theoretically the nature of the debate by reference to cognitive theory, and discuss the potential consequences of constructing and utilizing black-and-white images. I argue that the EU risked being caught in rhetorical traps by describing itself in overly altruistic terms, thereby giving its counterparts argumentative advantages. NGOs, on the other hand, lost some of their possibilities of influencing EU policy by taking a totally confrontational stance.
The European Commission plays a major role as regulator in the process of implementation of European legislation. Just looking at the figures of implementing measures one will find that the Commission adopts more than 2.500 such legal acts per year. As is well known the Commission is not alone in this process of regulating the implementation process but is assisted and controlled by 'comitology' committees composed of civil servants from the administrations of the Member States. The system has been under pressure for reform almost from its inception, where especially the European Parliament (EP) has been highly critical of the complex system. It is noteworthy that the system has partly been reformed in 2006. From the side of the EP this most recent reform of comitology is characterised as a great breakthrough in parliamentary control over EU legislation and seen as improving accountability of the whole Community system. This paper wants to come in here and probe into the question whether the latest Decision on Comitology actually does alleviate the current accountability deficits of comitology.
The territory of the European Union is made up of a rich and wide-ranging universe of languages, which is not only circumscribed to the "state languages". The existence of multilingualism is one of Europe's defining characteristic and it should remain so in the constantly evolving model of Europe's political structure. Linguistic rights have been dealt with under Community law through various viewpoints. The linguistic regime of the European Union is essentially of a legal nature. As a consequence of the legal regime of the languages there is a graduation between them. The building of political and economic Europe based on the "state language" concept affects the European linguistic diversity itself. Nevertheless, the express legal recognition to the European linguistic diversity takes place in a new context: the context of the opening of the European Union to fundamental rights. The respect for the linguistic diversity is shaped as an aim of the Union, identifying a sphere of action. A sphere of action that has to materialise itself with specific measures. We will see if there is enough legal basis to say that linguistic rights do form part of the general principles of law. If linguistic rights are considered as general principles under Community law, when do they have to apply?
The EU is not a member of the International Labour Organisation ( ILO), but relatively elaborate EU coordination takes place anyway. This paper addresses two research questions: 1) How is it possible to evaluate the coordination of the EU in its specific observable configuration in the ILO?, and 2) To what outcome does this coordination lead and why? Based on an analysis of EU coordination before and during the International Labour Conference in 2005, and on a comparison with coordination processes of the IMEC group, it is found that the Commission and the Presidency act as twin-agents vis-a-vis their principals, the Member States. The Commission is the leading agent in the phase leading up to the Conference; the Presidency then takes over. On the one hand, due to the Treaty obligations and their interpretations by the Court of Justice, both the Presidency and the Commission are kept within tight limits by the principals. On the other hand, both before and during the Conference, the Member States accept the so-called discursive coordination of the Commission, which seems to be of great ( but often neglected) importance. Owing to the organisational set-up in which coordination takes place, the EU is able to coordinate relatively elaborate agreements due to the strength of its coordination as far as professional or technical and political activities ( excepting the ILO budget) are concerned. In other more clear-cut or 'simple' policy areas such as the ILO budget, the EU coordination is weak: this contrast with the strong coordination of the IMEC.
The salience of European issues to the general public is a major determinant of the domestic legitimacy demands that governments face when they devise their European policies. The higher the salience of these issues, the more restrictive will be the legitimacy demands that governments have to meet on the domestic level. Whereas the domestic legitimacy of European policy can rest on a permissive consensus among the public in cases of low issue salience, it requires the electorate's explicit endorsement in cases of high issue salience. Polling data from Britain and Germany show that the salience of European issues is clearly higher in Britain than in Germany. We thus conclude that British governments face tougher domestic legitimacy demands when formulating their European policies than German governments. This may contribute to accounting for both countries' different approaches to the integration process: Germany as a role model of a pro-integrationist member state and, in contrast, Britain as the eternal "awkward partner".