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FP7

LASI Report Summary

Project reference: 313642
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC

Mid-Term Report Summary - LASI (Law, science and interests in European policy-making)

‘Law, science and interests in European policy-making’ (LASI) is funded by the European Research Council by way of a Consolidator Grant. The project takes five years and started on 1st January 2013. The Principal Investigator is Stijn Smismans, Professor of European Law at the School of Law and Politics and Director of the Centre for European Law and Governance at Cardiff University. The project team further includes, Dr. Elen Stokes (Reader in law), Dr. Emanuela Bozzini (Lecturer in sociology), Dr. Rachel Minto (Research Associate, political scientist) and Dr. Carlo Petrucci (Research Associate, competition lawyer).
The project has two main objectives: 1) It studies how European law shapes the use of different types of expertise in European policy-making and assesses whether and to what extent objectives such as ensuring scientific expertise, sound evidence and interest representation overlap or are in tension with each other. 2) It studies how law, which itself constitutes a type of expertise, can regulate and interact with other types of expertise in the policy-making process, such as economic and scientific expertise. Taking systems theory and reflexive law as a starting point, the project assesses how European law functions as a social subsystem and assesses how legal expertise functions in relation to other forms of expertise in European policy-making.
The first part of the project has focused on the horizontal (i.e. cross-sectoral) instruments through which expertise and participation is regulated in EU policy-making. These include general guidelines on expertise and on consultation, use of online consultations, expert groups, impact assessment and evaluations. In this context, our analysis has included two major developments that have influenced the regulation of expertise and participation in EU governance since the start of the project, namely the Commission’s new Better Regulation package (presented May 2015) and its increased attention for issues of policy evaluation. Text analysis and interviews have led to the publication of several key findings. Hence we have shown how the EU’s approach to the regulation of interest group participation has changed over time putting different focus on issues of transparency and representation; how both academic and policy discourses about participation and expertise have been framed over time (in terms of participation vs. representation, participation vs. expertise, and reflexive governance); and how legal theory and constitutionalism should address the regulation of expertise and participation. We have equally investigated and published on the relationships between the different instruments for expertise and participation; such as on the relationship between participation and impact assessment, on the relationship between ex ante and ex post evaluation, on the Commission’s divers use of online consultations, advisory committees and impact assessments, and on the use of impact assessments as a coordinating and mainstreaming tool.
Besides the horizontal measures regulating expertise and participation, the project has focused on three sectoral case studies, which are based on very different modes of governance and approaches to expertise and participation; nano-technology regulation, employment policy, and competition policy.
In the field of nano-technology, we have investigated the regulatory framework and use of expertise in the adoption of this framework. We have found that the current regulatory framework is thin in terms of its evidence basis, particularly as the use of impact assessments has (strategically) been avoided by the Commission. Further investigation looks at two sub-sectors relevant for nano-regulation; namely chemicals and occupational health and safety regulation.
In the field of employment and social policy, the investigation so far has focused on how attention to expertise and evidence-based policy-making, as well as the new Better Regulation package has influenced existing ‘euro-corporatist’ participatory practices. At the same time, we have started to assess to what extent the use of indicators in the context of the open method of coordination functions as a rather separate source of expertise independent or not from more political considerations in the policy-making process.
In relation to competition policy, the analysis has focused on the use of consultations, impact assessments and expertise at different stages of policy-making, namely legislation, executive action and enforcement.
In the remainder of the project we will further compare the three different sectors by analysing the use of expertise and participation during the adoption process of some legislative acts, while developing then further the analysis to the level of executive action and enforcement. Moreover, we will investigate the role of the legal services of the EU institutions to clarify the relationship between legal and non-legal expertise in the policy-making process.

Contact

Bodycombe, Nick (European Officer Manager)
Tel.: +44 29 20870171
Fax: +44 29 20874189
E-mail
Record Number: 183593 / Last updated on: 2016-06-16
Information source: SESAM