Committees of national officials play a major role in the decision-making of the European Union’s main legislative body, the Council of Ministers. The study investigates the conditions under which bureaucrats decide on legislative dossiers without direct involvement of ministers. A statistical analysis is performed to examine this question, using an original data set of 439 legislative proposals. The results of the analysis indicate that formal institutional features such as the voting rule in the Council and the involvement of the European Parliament affect committee decision-making, whereas no effects of committee socialization and preference divergence among member states are identified. The results diminish concerns about the democratic legitimacy of Council decision-making to some extent, as the findings demonstrate that bureaucrats tend to decide only the less salient and more complex proposals.