The Division of Labour in Legislative Decision-Making of the Council of the European Union


Little systematic empirical research exists about legislative decision-making in the Council of the European Union. This study contributes to closing this gap in the literature by examining which groups of actors within the Council decide on what type of issues. The Council structure is made up of a hierarchy consisting of working parties at the bottom, committees of senior officials in the middle and the ministers at the top. Based on a novel data set of legislative decisions made by the Council, the study examines the relative importance of these different Council levels. Two important findings emerge from the analysis: first, ministers are more involved in legislative decision-making than often assumed in the literature; second, the involvement of higher Council levels increases with features of dossiers that are related to political conflict. Although the results reduces worries about a lack of political accountability of Council decision-making, they cannot dispel these concerns completely.

Journal of Legislative Studies 13(4): 497-516
Frank M. Häge
Frank M. Häge
Political Scientist

Senior Lecturer at the University of Limerick. Interested in Legislative Politics, European Union Politics, and Historical Political Economy.