Daniel Gueguen, the president of PACT European Affairs, tells Rory Watson why he is critical of the new comitology procedures introduced by the Lisbon Treaty.

It appears that it is only now, more than two years after the Lisbon Treaty came into force, that the scale of the changes it introduced are being appreciated. How do you explain this?

The member states did not fully comprehend what they were signing. Initially in Brussels, everyone believed that Parliament had come out the winner on the new treaty. Opinions have since changed. Everyone has had time to measure the advantages the Commission is drawing from treaty Articles 290 and 291 on comitology.

Can one still speak of comitology in the strict sense of the term?

The word no longer exists. The Union has a talent for complicating everything: we were familiar with comitology, but now we have to speak of implementing acts and delegated acts. In the same vein, co-decision becomes the ordinary legislative procedure'. Lisbon was sold to the public opinion as a simplified treaty' but in fact it introduces tremendous legal complexity. It multiplies the number of procedures, exceptions and derogations. Before Lisbon, it was enough to be a technical expert to make your voice heard. Nowadays, not only do you have to be an expert but you also need extensive legal knowledge because if you are unfamiliar with the type of decision making procedure under which your issue falls, you're completely paralysed.

In the pre-Lisbon arrangement, implementing powers belonged to the Council, which delegated them to the Commission. What's the situation today?

Today, the Commission has the power to propose and adopt delegated acts. The committees of national experts no longer exist. The right of veto held by the Council and Parliament varies from one basic act to the next. This adds further complexity and subjectivity since the rapporteur's personality or the desk officer's opinion will play a role they didn't have before.

What is striking to observers is the contrasting analyses made by the Commission and the European Parliament of their respective power in terms of delegated acts.

Both the Commission and the European Parliament are convinced that they have power over delegated acts. Obviously, one of these two institutions is mistaken. And I would say without hesitating that it is Parliament. The number of delegated acts (around 500 a year), the very brief time limits for using the right of veto (two to three...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT