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The Role of the Council in the Development of a European Union Space Policy

Harald Koepping

Even after the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, the Council continues to be the major legislative power of the European institutions, a fact which is reflected in the area of space policy. This paper investigates the role the Council has played as a conditional agenda-setter in the formulation of the European Union Space Policy vis-à-vis the Parliament and particularly the Commission. It thus provides an important case-study of inter-institutional competition. There are two major empirical findings, which have important methodological implications. Firstly, the 'Space Council', which was instated in 2005 and provides a forum for the two intergovernmental bodies of the Council and the European Space Agency, has had a significant impact on policy-making. This underlines the inter-institutional dominance of the Council (Hagemann & Høyland, 2010). Secondly, due to a lacking technical understanding of the complexities inherent to space-related technologies, the Council relies on expert information from the European Commission and epistemic communities (e.g. ESA). Particularly if viewed in line with Sigalas' contribution, this finding should provide an impetus for further research to question to nature of the Council's power, rather than to simply assert the Council's dominance over the Parliament.

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