Recently Published: Consultative Committees in the European Union

New publication available:

Hönnige, Christoph/Panke, Diana (2013): The Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee. How Influential are Consultative Committees in the European Union?  in the Journal of Common Market Studies, Volume 51, Issue 3, pages 452–471


The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) are two advisory bodies of the European Union involved in a broad array of policy areas. However, little is known about the effects of the two committees on the positions of the other institutions or final policy outcomes. This article investigates to what extent and under what conditions the CoR and the EESC can exert influence. Based on a comprehensive survey conducted in 2010, a series of hypotheses derived from a neo-institutionalism framework are tested. It is found that consultative committees are not very influential overall. Nevertheless, they can exert influence under certain scope conditions, including the speed with which they produce recommendations, the quality of the recommendations and the resonance with the addressees’ prior beliefs.

ECPR General Conference Bordeaux 2013 – Section on Law, Courts and Judical Politics

Sylvain Brouard and Christoph Hönnige will offer a section on  Law, Courts and Judicial Politics consisting of 7 panels at the next ECPR General Conference in Bordeaux from 4.-7.9.2013.  Information about the accepted papers will be out in mid/end April. The panels are:

Panel 1: International courts and transnational legal institutions and processes
Panel 2: Courts in democratic systems
Panel 3: Courts in non-democratic systems, democratization and democratic break-downs
Panel 4: Institutional design and change of legal institutions
Panel 5: Legal mobilization and litigation
Panel 6: Courts, public policies and policy agenda
Panel 7: Data and methods in court research

APSA 2012 Annual Conference Report

The papers which would have been presented at APSA 2012 are available at the SSRN APSA 2012 server.  Benjamin Engst and Christoph Hönnige presented the paper “Reaching the Mountains Peak: Judicialization and its Limits in France”. Christoph Hönnige and Diana Panke presented the paper “Voice Without Vote? Analyzing the Influence of Consultative Committees“.

ECPR Joint Sessions Workshop 2013 Mainz – Application process open!

The ECPR has accepted the workshop proposal by Julio Rios-Figueroa and Christoph Hönnige for the ECPR Joint Sessions 2013 in Mainz. The workshop (No 29) has the title

The Judiciary and the Quality of Democracy in Comparative Perspective

The call for papers is now open and more information about the application process can be found here. We cordially invite potential paper givers. Please note that the deadline for applications is November, 1st 2012. This is one month earlier than usually!

The abstract of the workshop is as follows:

Judicial independence, and the judicial power in general, is no longer seen as an end in itself but rather as means to promote better societies and better governments. In particular, scholars have converged on the idea that independent and powerful judges are critical to the promotion and maintenance of many aspects of the quality of democracy, like human rights, economic growth, corruption control, and social and political stability. Therefore NGOs, states, and international organizations have promoted vigorously the introduction of strong courts, the construction of judicial independence, and more broadly, the rule of law around the globe. However, persistent gaps in our knowledge put in risk worldwide efforts to empower courts as a means to promote better democracies. We still face challenges on the very definition and measurement of the central concepts of judicial independence and judicial power. We don´t know yet what exactly about judicial independence or power matters and how it is linked to the various desired outcomes. And, as a result, existing empirical analyses remain inconclusive or limited. The workshop seeks to address these gaps and to contribute to our knowledge of the role of judicial institutions and behaviour on the quality of democracy. In particular, the aims of the workshop are: (1) To focus on the theoretical and empirical links between judicial independence, judicial power, and various aspects of democratic quality. (2) To systematically explore the relationship between these variables in a comparative and empirically innovative manner, bridging research on courts from different parts and regions of the world.

IPSA World Congress 2012 Report

Members of the chair presented two papers at the IPSA World Congress from 7.-12.7.2012: Benjamin Engst and Christoph Hönnige presented the paper “Stone-Sweet, Vanberg and the Abstract Review Procedure Revisited: Findings from the French Conseil Constitutionnel” in the panel High Courts and Judicial Governance: Dialogue and Rights Review (link) of the RC 09 section. Julia Gollub, Diana Panke and Christoph Hönnige presented the paper “Voice without Vote: The Impact of CoR and EESC on National and Supranational Positions in the EU’s Multi-Level Governance”  at the panel on Reviewing EU Multilevel Governance I: Challenges of Sustaining Policy-making and Promoting EU Integration (link). Christoph Hönnige also chaired the panel on Institutional Design and Selection of Judges in an Age of Judicial Power (link). Benjamin Engst served as discussant for this panel.