Most EU legislation consists of executive acts of the European Commission. The Lisbon Treaty introduced a new type of EU executive legislation – delegated acts, which give the European Parliament formal powers of legislative scrutiny equal to those of the EU Council. Thus, the use of delegated acts could reinforce the institutional balance of power and help reduce the EU’s democratic deficit. We studied the situations when the Parliament and the Council agreed to grant the Commission the right to adopt delegated acts, considering the preference constellations of legislative and executive actors and legislative complexity. Using a novel dataset on post-Lisbon legislation, we found that delegated acts are more likely in cases of high legislative complexity and when the Council sees the Parliament as an ally vis-à-vis the Commission. However, the European Parliament gets no say over executive measures when doing so could shift policy outcomes away from the Council’s preferences, raising doubts about the effectiveness of parliamentary control.

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Keywords delegated acts, comitology, transaction cost theory, delegation models, parliamentary control
Persistent URL,
Series VSNU Open Access deal
Journal JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies
Note corresponding author at Leiden University
Yordanova, N., & Zhelyazkova, A.T. (2019). Legislative Control over Executive Law‐making: Delegation of Quasi‐legislative Powers to the European Commission. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies. doi:10.1111/jcms.12943