PhD thesis

Decision-Making in the Council of the European Union: The Role of Committees (Leiden University, 2008)
Many legislative decisions of the Council of the European Union are de facto made in preparatory bodies by national officials and diplomats. Ministers rubber-stamp these committee decisions without discussion. Drawing on statistical as well as case study evidence, the thesis investigates the extent to which this actually occurs. Based on a formal-theoretical discussion of possible explanations, the thesis also examines the causes for why certain decisions are made by committee members and others by ministers. In general, the empirical findings alleviate concerns about the democratic legitimacy of Council decisions.

Received the Best PhD Thesis Award 2009 of the University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES), the Jaarprijs Politicologie of the Dutch Political Science Association (NKWP) for best Phd thesis defended in 2008, and a Honorable Mention in the G.A. Van Poelje Jaarprijs competition of the Dutch Public Administration Association (VB) for best PhD thesis defended in 2008.

Complete thesis as PDF-document (1877 KB)

Book cover
Title page, table of contents, acknowledgements
Part I Introduction and background
1 The study of Council committees
2 The Council’s committee system
3 Existing research on Council decision-making
4 Theoretical perspectives on Committee decision-making
Part II Quantitative analysis
5 Sample selection
6 Describing the extent of committee decision-making
7 Explaining the variation in committee decision-making
Part III Qualitative analysis
8 Methodological issues
9 Agriculture
10 Environment
11 Economic and Financial Affairs
12 Summary and between-sector comparison
Part IV Synthesis and conclusion
13 Discussion of research results and theory building
14 Conclusion
Summary (in Dutch)
Curriculum Vitae