Comitology – a word that many have probably heard politicians speak about but don’t have the faintest idea of what it means, or more importantly how it works.
Comitology in the European Union refers to the committee system which oversees the delegated acts implemented by the European Commission.
This is in addition to the main types of law making undertaken by the EU, which come in the form of Directives, Regulations and Opinions.
All legislatures have a system of delegating detailed implementing measures to the executive. At EU level too, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union can confer such powers on the Commission. Delegated Acts we have written about before, and are in so many words, a form of Statutory Instruments for the European commission. Government by executive order.
There are four categories of comitology committee: Advisory, Management, Regulatory and, under the new procedure agreed in 2006, Regulatory with Scrutiny. Advisory committees give opinions which the Commission must take account of, but it retains the power of decision. Management committees can block a proposed Commission measure by a qualified majority. A Regulatory committee needs a qualified majority to approve a proposed Commission measure. Only measures not adopted are referred to the Council for a decision (or Council and Parliament under the new Regulatory committee with Scrutiny, where opposition from either can block the proposed measure).
Few understand the scope and power that the unelected EU Commission wields.
All well and good you say, except these committees allow national governments to hoodwink their electorate. In the case of the UK we currently see the Coalition Government having a review of legislation that was passed by the former Labour Government, but it is a review which specifically excludes any legislation coming from the EU.
Comitology gives the UK Government the scope to win browny points with the public by removing the more ‘unpopular’ elements of legislation, tidying up the house as it were to make draconian laws more palatable, but it has the ability to sway the EU Commission using comitology committees into introducing the same or similar legislation via the Directive or Regulation route like rodents gnawing away behind the skirting boards. At which point the government will tell the public ‘nothing to do with us, it was the EU wot dun it’.
This route is not a new one, the UK Government in particular has been using this route for years, and a quick look at the Comitology Register will show just how much legislation has been pushed through via this back door route.
It is also necessary to point out that non of these comitology committees are staffed by elected officials, this is all done at the civil service level, all carefully trained, all vetted for their pro-EU stance, all appointed to the role, and is the primary route used by lobbyists.
While approximately 50 directives are adopted each year under co-decision, 2,500 regulations are conducted through comitology…
The EU is such a strange mix of Communist styled centralised control and vested interest Corporatism that it cannot fail to eventually collapse under the weight of its own regulations, finally stagnating as the former Soviet Union did, and the populations of the 27 member states will suffer in the same manner.
If you wish to see just how much of EU regulation is pushed on us in this manner, search for specific documents, look up the various committees or look for the minutes of the meetings, you can do that here at the Comitology Register.
I have already downloaded a Comitologylist20082010 for your use just in case this link should ‘disappear’.
So I invite you to dig a little deeper into the world of comitology, and we will find that irrespective of whether we have the Blue EU party, the Red EU party or the Fading Yellow EU party in government in the UK, the EU laws will just keep coming.