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‘Relais actors’ and co-decision first reading agreements in the European Parliament : the case of the advanced therapies regulation

Judge, D. and Earnshaw, D. (2011) ‘Relais actors’ and co-decision first reading agreements in the European Parliament : the case of the advanced therapies regulation. Journal of European Public Policy, 18 (1). pp. 53-71. ISSN 1350-1763

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Abstract

The processing of the advanced therapies regulation is of particular interest to scholars of the European Union's (EU) legislative process and students of the European Parliament (EP) because it provides a case study which throws light upon assumptions commonly made about the role of the EP's ‘relais actors’, the promotion of consensus-building within and between parliamentary committees, and the development of intraorganizational rules in response to early agreements in the co-decision procedure. An examination of the EP's processing of the advanced therapies dossier provides an ‘unusual’ but vivid illustration of how the identification of committee rapporteurs as the most important parliamentary ‘relais actors’ fails to capture the increasingly important roles performed by shadow rapporteurs. Significantly, the ‘unusual’ occurrences associated with the processing of the advanced therapies regulation came at a crucial juncture in the reconsideration of the EP's intraorganizational rules in relation to early agreements and the subsequent adoption of new Rules of Procedure in 2009.