12 Colum. J. Eur. L. 487 (2006)

Alexandra Gatto, Visiting Scholar, Columbia Law School, Fall 2005. This Article is based on a research project conducted for the International Institute for Labour Studies (ILLS) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva.

The issue of governance in the European Union (EU) has been for many years now at the center of a vast academic and institutional debate. The theme of governance has indeed progressively incorporated most branches of EU law and policies departing from its original administrative reach; it now encompasses the areas of environmental law, health and safety law, and social policy, yet it also gives rise to novel constitutional and administrative concerns. Given the fact that the legal debate on governance has so far addressed a variety of specific aspects of the phenomenon, this Article aims to provide an account of the “law and governance” debate in the EU. Its objective is to draw attention to the current legal debate on the EU forms of governance and to point out their distinctive features. This Article will trace the main steps towards emergence of EU governance from its antecedents to the proposals made in the context of the Convention on the Future of Europe. Governance as a response to the EU’s regulatory needs will be considered, with particular reference to the comitology system and European independent agencies. Finally, this Article will analyze the OMC and, in particular, its use in employment and social inclusion policies.