Who are the experts? The informational basis of EU decision-making
In this paper Åse Gornitzka and Ulf Sverdrup examine patterns of participation in the large and organized expert group system under the European Commission.
Åse Gornitzka and Ulf Sverdrup
Who provides the European Union with information? Are these sources of information biased? Who are excluded and who are included? What can the informational bias tell us about decision making in the European Union? The paper examines patterns of participation in the large and organized expert group system under the European Commission. We explore competing propositions about the character of the Commission’s information system with reference to different theoretical conceptions of the role of information in decision-making. We separate between three kinds of information providers: the scientific community, societal actors and governmental officials. The empirical section of the paper builds upon a quantitative analysis of a new data set covering all of the European Commission expert groups (N=1237). Our analysis reveals that although scientists, and various interest groups, industries and NGOs play an important role in providing information to the European Commission, the informational foundation is strongly biased towards officials from the national administrations. We argue that these distinct patterns of participation increase the ability of the Commission to anticipate reactions to its proposals and initiatives.