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The term ‘comitology’ refers to the set of procedures through which the European Commission exercises the implementing powers conferred on it by the European Union (EU) legislator, with the assistance of committees of representatives from EU Member States.

Under Article 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the EU legislator may empower the Commission to adopt ‘implementing acts’ through specific rules written into a legislative act (the ‘basic act’). This is done when it is necessary to put in place uniform conditions for the implementation of EU law, instead of letting each Member State implement it on its own in a potentially divergent manner.

The practical rules and general principles to be followed on comitology are laid down in Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 (the ‘comitology regulation’). Accordingly, the Commission consults a committee composed of representatives of all Member States and chaired by the Commission on draft implementing acts. These committees use 2 types of procedures:

  • examination and
  • advisory.

These procedures differ in their voting rules and in the way their votes influence the Commission’s possibilities to adopt the implementing act in question. The choice of procedure for a given act is made by the EU legislator, and depends on the nature of the implementing powers that are laid out in the basic act (regulation, directive or decision).