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The Impact of 'Widening' on the Substantive Lourdeur of EU Decision-making

Inge Depoorter

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of the fifth EU enlargement round on what Krislov, Ehlerman and Weiler (1986: 34) call the substantive lourdeur of EU decision-making. The substantive lourdeur has a negative impact on the quality of legislation. However, this concept is still very much at stake in the context of EU enlargement because sociological theories on group size (Simmel, 1902) indicate that an increase of the group affects the group behavior, and, the outcome of what the group produces.The question at stake is to what extent the 2004 EU enlargement, an increase of the group by ten new member states, influenced the substantive lourdeur of EU decision-making.Therefore, I conduct a content analysis on the EU legislation, adopted in the period 1999-2010, in the framework of 'Transport' and 'Agriculture' to examine whether or not the increase in EU member states affected the quality of legislation (the substantive lourdeur). Firstly, I examine whether or not the 2004 EU enlargement caused a policy shift in this area. Secondly, I explore if the Council and the European Parliament are rejecting more or amending more substantially the Commission proposals. Following the theories on group size, I expect a negative impact on these issues. This would indicate that the widening of the EU has a negative impact on the substantive lourdeur of EU decision-making.References:Krislov, Samuel; Claus-Dieter Ehlerman amp; Joseph Weiler (1986) 'The Political Organs and the Decision-Making Process in the United States and the European Community'. In: Mauro Cappelletti, Monica Seccombe amp; Joseph Weiler (eds.) Methods, Tools and Institutions. Political Organs, Integration Techniques and Judicial Process. Berlin, de Gruyter, p. 3-112.Simmel, Georg (1902) 'The Number of Members as Determining the Sociological Form of the Group'. American Journal of Sociology, 8, 1, p. 1-46.

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