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Glossary

COMITOLOGY


This is more correctly known as "committee procedure". It describes a process in which the Commission, when implementing EU law, has to consult special advisory committees made up of experts from the EU countries. Relations between the Commission and the committees are based on models set out in a Council Decision (the "Comitology Decision") adopted on 28 June 1999. This gives Parliament the right to monitor the implementation of legislative instruments adopted under the codecision procedure. Parliament can object to measures proposed by the Commission, or sometimes the Council, which it considers to be ultra vires. The following categories of committee can be distinguished, according to how they operate: * Advisory committees: they give their opinions to the Commission, which must take account of them. This procedure is generally used when the matters under discussion are not very sensitive politically * Management committees: if the measures adopted by the Commission are not in accordance with the committee's opinion, the Commission must refer them to the Council, which may take a different decision. This procedure is used e.g. for measures for managing the common agricultural policy, fisheries and the main Community programmes * Regulatory committees: if the measures envisaged by the Commission are not in accordance with the committee's opinion, the Commission must refer them to the Council and inform the European Parliament. If the Council opposes the Commission's proposal, the Commission must re-examine it. It may submit an amended proposal or a new proposal or may re-submit the same proposal. This procedure is used e.g. for measures relating to protection of the health or safety of persons, animals and plants and measures amending non-essential provisions of the basic legislative instruments. The Council Decision of 28 June 1999 replaced that of 13 July 1987, simplifying the system and taking account of the new codecision procedure. The committee system is made more open to scrutiny by Parliament and the general public. Committee documents are more readily accessible to the citizen and are recorded in a public register. With the computerisation of decision-making procedures, the aim is for the full texts of non-confidential documents transmitted to Parliament to be posted on the Internet.

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