Chapter

Has Government by Committee Lost the Public's Confidence?

William Wallace

in Elitism, Populism, and European Politics

Published in print March 1996 | ISBN: 9780198280354
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599422 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198280351.003.0013
 Has Government by Committee Lost the Public's Confidence?

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The European Communities were built around a series of committees. The central tension was between the Council of Ministers and its substructure of intergovernmental committees and the European Commission and its committees of experts. The resulting ‘comitology’ sought to replace conflicts of national interest by functional consensus. While this type of decision‐making facilitates business interest group influence, it reduces that of parliaments and political parties. As controversial issues increasingly supplement technical ones, committee government is decreasingly sustainable in a multi‐level political system.

Keywords: comitology; committee government; Council of Ministers; European Commission; European Communities; functional consensus; national interest

Chapter.  5073 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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