Brandsma, Gijs Jan

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He who controls the process controls the outcome? : A reappraisal of the relais actor thesis

2021-04-03, Brandsma, Gijs Jan, Hoppe, Alexander

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Transparency of EU informal trilogues through public feedback in the European Parliament : promise unfulfilled

2019-10-03, Brandsma, Gijs Jan

Significant parts of the EU’s legislative process remain shrouded in secrecy. In informal trilogues, representatives of the three main institutions negotiate compromises behind closed doors which are subsequently rubber-stamped in public meetings. While most research on (EU) transparency focuses on the availability of documents, this article investigates how much information on trilogue proceedings is shared with the general public through European Parliament (EP) committee meetings as the only forum to which public account must be rendered during the negotiation process. This article analyses the degree to which trilogues are reported back on, and the quality of feedback provided. Although the EP requires its trilogue negotiators to report back to its committees after each trilogue, the majority of trilogues is not reported back on at all, or not in time. Where feedback is given, its quality is often only poor. The EP thus does not deliver on its promises, which seriously undermines the legitimacy of the EU’s legislative process.

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The Principal–Agent Model, Accountability and Democratic Legitimacy

2017-10-18, Brandsma, Gijs Jan, Adriaensen, Johan

This chapter explores the normative underpinnings of the principal–agent model. These are situated in Rousseau’s analysis of the representative democracy and Weber’s study of the bureaucracy. Whereas many of their arguments still maintain their value in present-day politics, the empirical reality in which these ideas developed has changed drastically. The rise of alternative forms of public contestation, and above all, the multi-level decision-making setting of the EU, begs the question for which contemporary debates the principal–agent model still holds moral sway. We argue that—while principal–agent analyses can benefit from an explicit normative debate—the model is too reductionist to provide conclusive answers to such debates.

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Some Are more Equal than Others : Report Allocation to Members of the European Parliament from New Member States

2021, Schädler, Robin, Brandsma, Gijs Jan

Rapporteurs in the European Parliament are influential figures, drafting reports, preparing and collecting amendments and negotiating files on behalf of Parliament as a whole. Previous studies have shown a persistent under‐representation of MEPs from the post‐2004 accession states among rapporteurs. In this study, we demonstrate the evolution of this disparity. Although it no longer exists at the surface, MEPs from accession states are still very much under‐represented in the allocation of files that are negotiated with the Council using trilogues – leaving them mostly with prime responsibility for short and relatively uncomplicated files. This shows that unequal representation has taken on a more subtle guise than before, with ‘west‐European’ MEPs still firmly in the driving seat.

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EGPA and the Study of EU Public Administration : EGPA Permanent Study Group 14: EU Administration and Multilevel Governance

2019, Brandsma, Gijs Jan, Heidbreder, Eva G., Mastenbroek, Ellen

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Transnational executive bodies : EU policy implementation between the EU and member state level

2017-06, Joosen, Rik, Brandsma, Gijs Jan

Existing typologies of the European administrative space locate decision‐making powers with the European Commission, member state governments, and EU and national agencies, sometimes aided through regulatory networks. This article argues that those typologies are incomplete because they do not take into account the existence of transnational executive bodies. These are public authorities that are responsible for administering and implementing EU policies across multiple member states, that are part of neither domestic nor EU institutions and whose decisions are legally binding. They represent a potentially highly prevalent form of governance in a previously uncharted area of the European administrative space. We document their workings by presenting a case study of the Rhine‐Alpine Corridor organization, a transnational executive body implementing parts of the EU rail freight policy.

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Accountability in a multi-jurisdictional order

2020, Brandsma, Gijs Jan, Moser, Carolyn

This chapter investigates whether and how the mushrooming of quasi-autonomous agencies at EU level complies with accountability requirements. After outlining the concept of accountability as a mechanism and discussing the functions of accountability, we expose the particularities of accountability in the EU context and, more specifically, in relation to EU agencies. The chapter then explores the effects of Europeanization on (agency) accountability, and closes with some reflections on governance trends and potential accountability patterns. Most notably, we observe an increase of informal cooperation in policy areas that are mainly intergovernmental (i.e. in matters of security and defence, and police cooperation). This increase in informality poses a challenge to multi-level accountability: the absence of formal delegation of decisional and operational powers, or the absence of formal decisions, makes it virtually impossible for national or European accountability forums to hold actors to account.

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The EU Policy Process

2018, Heidbreder, Eva G., Brandsma, Gijs Jan

This chapter applies the well-established heuristic of the policy cycle to the policymaking process of the European Union (EU). Notably, the EU polity differs from states, which has significant implications on its policy cycle. To set the scene, the first part of this chapter provides an overview of the central polity traits that determine the unique features of the EU policy cycle. The subsequent sections review the basic features of—and some of the main research contributions on—the individual stages of the EU policy cycle. This chapter concludes with an evaluation of the changing power balances within and across the EU policy stages that suggest significant adaptations in EU policymaking and the EU’s role as a regulatory polity.

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Controlling the EU executive? : the politics of delegation in the European Union

2017, Brandsma, Gijs Jan, Blom-Hansen, Jens

Every year the EU Commission issues thousands of rules based on powers delegated by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. But delegation is carefully controlled. Traditionally, control has been exerted through a system of committees of member state representatives ('comitology'). However, this system was contested by the European Parliament which was left without any influence. The Lisbon Treaty introduced a new control regime for delegated powers, the so-called delegated acts system, which was meant to supplement the existing system. The new system involves direct control by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament and thus for the first time gave the European Parliament real influence over delegated powers. However, the choice over which delegation regime to use in practice has turned into one of the most vehement institutional conflicts in the EU political system.

This book represents the first comprehensive investigation of this conflict. It does so by a combination of methods and data, including process-tracing of the introduction of the new system in the Lisbon Treaty, case studies of selected post-Lisbon delegation situations, and statistical analysis of datasets comprising hundreds of post-Lisbon legislative files.