The protection of our personal data, the tariffs of mobile phone calls, and the stability of national and international financial systems are to a substantial extent shaped by European regulatory networks that are made up of Member States’ national data protection, telecom, and financial market authorities.
Except being loci where representatives and experts of the Member States’ national regulatory authorities regularly meet and exchange experiences and best practices, European regulatory networks also function as sites where regulatory norms contained within Community law is interpreted and harmonized across the EU. At the same time, regulatory networks act as policy advisors to the European Commission and play their role in the making of new European legislation.
European regulatory networks are a relatively new phenomenon within the European administrative space and research on the workings of these networks is scant. A particular problem that deems research on these networks much needed is that their functioning is highly problematic from the perspective of parliamentary democracy. Although the constituent units of European regulatory networks are nationally established governmental bodies, they operate in a grey area between the EU and Member States.
The central question this research project examines is therefore to what extent the functioning of European regulatory networks is indeed problematic from the perspective of democratic legitimacy. To this end, this project focuses on four attributes of European regulatory networks: (1) the outputs (e.g. standards, guidelines, recommendations) of these networks, (2) the decision-making processes that produces these outputs, (3) the transposition of these standards, guidelines and other “soft law” by national regulatory authorities, and (4) the impact these have on national regulatory practices and policies.
Dr. Kutsal Yesilkagit is the principal researcher of this project that is generously funded by the Montesquieu Institute.