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Delegated Powers and Inter-institutional Relations in the EU before and after the Lisbon Treaty

Thomas Christiansen, Mathias Dobbels

The European Union's system of delegated powers, traditionally known as 'comitology', underwent significant changes after the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. This paper compares and contrasts the main features of the system before and after these changes, with a particular focus on the roles played by the three main institutions involved in this process (European Parliament, European Commission and Council). As part of this analysis, a distinction is made between the changes that occurred at the level of treaty reform (and which generally favoured the EP in assuming a greater role in the process of policy-implementation) and the subsequent legislative reforms and developments in soft law (through which the Council and the European Commission have reasserted their powers in this domain). In conclusion, the paper argues that inter-institutional relations with regard to delegated powers remain dynamic, and that an assessment of the 'winners' and 'losers' in this area requires analysis of the way in which the formal constitutional provisions in the treaties are being implemented and exercised in practice.

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