From contestation to accountability in EU pesticides regulation: the case of glyphosate

Science-based regulatory determinations largely escape political-democratic and legal accountability mechanisms, their technical complexity representing an obstacle for most non-specialized accountability fora (i.e. courts and parliaments).
In this context, the renewal of the authorization for glyphosate represents a worth-exploring case, being meaningful from two perspectives: firstly, it exposes the limits of the EU’s approach to risk regulation, based on a strict separation between scientific and policy considerations. Secondly, it provides insights as to how traditional accountability mechanisms can be transformed and adapted so to cope with technical complexity.
Having sketched the relevant EU legal framework, the paper recounts the different phases of the saga before mapping the different mechanisms activated to hold decision makers to account, and provides an assessment of such mechanisms and of their potential for enhancing the accountability of EU pesticides regulation.

Parliamentary committees of inquiry and rights of the opposition

The paper focuses on the mandatory initiative of the parliamentary minority (opposition) to set up a parliamentary committee of inquiry, as designed for the first time in Germany by the Weimar Constitution. This model was later adopted by some new democracies of Europe such as Albania, Kosovo, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovenia; in Hungary it was abolished in 2014. However, evidence from experience shows that due to a lack of effective legal guarantees, this legal institute functions properly only in Germany. Either no inquiries are launched, or a formal setup of a committee is followed by ineffective non-activities. A key issue is therefore the availability of inquiry rights for the parliamentary opposition during the entire inquiry procedure, and not just at the initial phase. The presentation looks at the legal background and practice of the mandatory minority initiative in the above countires and also at the possible reasons why parliamentary inquiries fail.

Common European Heritage of Administrative Procedure

EU still has not adopted a legally binding act regulating administrative proceedings before its all authorities. It brightly contrasts with a long tradition of codification of administrative procedure in the vast majority of EU member states. Furthermore, nowadays we have to deal with a new wave of codifications. It arrives not only to countries with well established achievments like Spain and Portugal in 2015, but extends on those usually reluctant to that kind of provisions. French Code of relations between administration and the public was finally adopted after decades of debates, as an effect of the case law, scholarly pressure and a few proposals. The analysis of factors which led to current state of affairs requires therefore the extensive use of comparative and historical method. However, the results of research can have a crucial importance for understanding of EU administration and may be used in future for amelioration of procedural side of rising global administrative law.

The ECB’s Performance under the ESM Treaty on a Sliding Scale of Delegation

Two opposing theories explain the European Central Bank’s (ECB) far-reaching powers: principal-agent and trusteeship. This article situates both theories on a sliding scale of delegation, with agents on one end of the spectrum, and trustees on the other. Applying this new perspective to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) allows us to understand how the ECB, positioned on the agent side of the scale by the ESM Treaty, slides towards the trustee side in practice. This way, the article identifies a problem: the ECB assumes a ‘zone of discretion’ that is not captured by the control mechanisms, thereby disregarding an essential feature of delegation. This conclusion is confirmed by the legal boundaries of delegation established in the Meroni doctrine. These findings become increasingly important with the long term aim to incorporate the ESM in the EU legal order.

Legislative Interpretation within the European Union: The Challenge of Legislative Intent

If the central purpose of interpretation is to show respect for the authority of the EU, how should those faced with the task of interpretation interpret European Union legislation? This article rejects purposive interpretation as it implausibly assumes the EU legislature acts solely with the intention to realise a set of substantive purposes, thereby ignoring that the legislative plan includes the legislative rules posited in the text of its acts. It also dismisses theories of interpretation that argue for a literal reading of legislative text. Instead, the article argues that the object of interpretation should be the intended meaning of the EU legislature, which the interpreter can discern by placing legislative text in the context in which the legislature expressed itself. The shortcomings of existing theories of legislative interpretation within the EU and the strength of the alternative presented here are illustrated by examples from the case law of the EU Court of Justice.