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Enforcement, monitoring, verification, outsourcing: the decline and decline of the infringement process

Smith, Melanie ORCID: 2008. Enforcement, monitoring, verification, outsourcing: the decline and decline of the infringement process. European Law Review 33 (6) , pp. 777-802.

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This article assesses the European Commissions policy on the centralised enforce- ment mechanism (contained in Art.226 EC) in the light of its espoused commitment to good governance and legitimacy within the European Union. The Commissions ini- tial efforts in 2002 to reform its handling of the infringement process in the light of its own principles of good governance (openness, participation, effectiveness, coherence and accountability) were an interesting, although incomplete, attempt to reconcile the traditionally closed and secretive process of enforcement of Member States obli- gations with the twin agenda of good governance and bringing the European Union closer to its citizens. As a unique space of interaction for a multitude of actors, Art.226 EC presents a valuable opportunity for the perceived unaccountable EU institutions to deliver valuable inter-institutional accountability. The glaring omission from the Commission s initial Communication was an indication of its strategy for coping with an enlarged European Union. The recent Communication (September 2007) from the Commission attempts to deal with this omission. Instead of continuing with its com- mitment to good governance, it is argued that the Communication could be seen as the final blow to any hope that the Commission s handling of the infringement process could be legitimised in its own good governance terms. The strategy seems to have turned inexorably toward outsourcing the responsibility of dealing with complainants to the Member States, not as a way of dealing with a vast increase in numbers of complaints, but in order to circumvent administrative controls being placed on the Commissions discretion.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: accountability; discretion; ec law; enforcement; enlargement; european commission; european governance; failure fulfil obligations; rule law; transparency
Publisher: Sweet & Maxwell
ISSN: 0307-5400
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 08:44

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