Interministerial Coordination


How effectively do ministerial or cabinet committees coordinate cabinet proposals?

The vast majority of cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated first by committees.
The Council of Ministers (Conseil des ministres/Raad van ministers), which is one of the central components of the government, meets every week. Each minister is responsible for drafting a proposal, which gets submitted to the council. The council’s secretariat then checks whether the proposal can be debated, asking a number of questions: Is it complete and technically sound? Does it conflict with other past decisions? Is it contained in the governmental agreement? Proposals are debated by ministers only if they pass this first filter, a process that allows them to focus on the strategic aspects of the issue. However, the most important strategic considerations are mainly political.

Before reaching the Council of Ministers, projects are always discussed beforehand in formal or informal cabinet committee meetings that include experts and senior officers from the relevant ministerial cabinets. Most negotiation is performed at that stage and, if necessary, further fine-tuned in the actual Council of Ministers meeting. In the case of particularly important or sensitive policy issues, for instance the issue of nuclear power plants’ future, the process can take longer. In some instances, this may involve repeated shuttling between the Council of Ministers or its restricted version (the Kern), where the actual negotiations take place, and the inter-cabinet ministerial working groups responsible for preparing the discussion by clarifying the technical and legal issues.
Cabinet committees effectively prepare cabinet meetings. The government has four statutory ministerial committees: the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy (which meets with the president when pressing issues arise), the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs, the Ministerial Finance Committee and the Ministerial Committee on Economic Policy. Additionally, ad hoc ministerial committees can be appointed by the government plenary session. All these committees are chaired by the prime minister, who also chairs sessions of the Economic Council, the Research and Innovation Council, and the Title Board. In addition, there are several ministerial working groups. The primary task of these committees and groups is to prepare cabinet meetings by helping to create consensus between relevant ministries and interests. In all, a large majority of issues are reviewed first by cabinet committees and working groups.
Policy preparation tends to take place in cabinet committees (regeringsudvalg) involving a smaller number of ministers. The number of such committees has varied over time. Currently, the following standing cabinet committees exist: the government coordination committee (chaired by the prime minister), the economy committee (chaired by the finance minister), the security committee (chaired by the prime minister), the appointments committee (chaired by the prime minister), the government’s EU implementation committee (chaired by the minister of employment) and the committee for green transition (chaired by the minister of energy, utilities and climate). The latter committee was formed by the new Social Democratic government of Mette Frederiksen.

This system was strengthened under the previous liberal-conservative government in the early 2000s and there are parallel committees of high-level civil servants.
Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen et al., Politik og forvaltning, 4. udg., 2017.

Oversigt over faste regeringsudvalg, (accessed 17 October 2019).
New Zealand
There are clear guidelines for policy formulation in the New Zealand core executive. All policy proposals are reviewed in cabinet committees. Full cabinet meetings therefore can focus on strategic policy debates and policy conflicts between coalition partners or between the government and its legislative support parties in the House of Representatives. In quantitative terms, from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021, the full cabinet met 52 times while cabinet committees met 115 times (Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet 2021). A revised cabinet committee structure was implemented in October 2017 following the formation of the government after the general election. The overall number of committees remained ten, but seven out of ten committees were discontinued or superseded. Key committees are now the Cabinet Legislation Committee, the Committee on Economic Development and the Cabinet Environment, Energy and Climate Committee.
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (2021) Annual Report 2021.
Two powerful ministerial committees effectively prepare cabinet meetings in Spain: The Committee for Economic Affairs, and the Committee of Undersecretaries and Secretaries of State. The Committee for Economic Affairs review and schedule economic or budgetary interministerial coordination. This committee has been chaired since 2020 by the first vice-president of the government and the minister for economic affairs and digital transformation, and also includes the other ministers and secretaries of state who hold economic responsibilities. For its part, the Committee of Undersecretaries and Secretaries of State effectively filters out and settles issues prior to cabinet meetings. This committee of top officials prepare the Council of Ministers’ weekly sessions, which are held every Tuesday (see “Ministerial Bureaucracy” for further details). No cabinet member participates apart from the deputy prime minister, who serves as its chairperson. Spain’s only Council of Ministers committee composed exclusively of cabinet members is the Foreign Policy Council, which meets only about once a year.
In order to prepare the implementation of the RRP, existing departments have been given new responsibilities. For example, the Economic Office of the Prime Minister will act as a monitoring unit, the Ministry of Finance’s department for EU funds will act as the managing unit and the General Intervention Board of the State Administration will act as an oversight and audit unit.
Real Decreto 399/2020, de 25 de febrero, por el que se establecen las Comisiones Delegadas del Gobierno.
The composition and terms of reference of cabinet committees are decided by the prime minister. The minister for the Cabinet Office generally also has an influential role, chairing 10 and sitting on all but two cabinet committees under the May government. The creation of implementation taskforces alongside conventional committees led to a net increase in committee numbers. After the change of prime minister in the summer of 2016, two noteworthy innovations were the establishment of the European Union Exit and Trade Committee, and the Economy and Industrial Strategy Cabinet Committee, both of which were chaired by the prime minister. Additionally, a committee on social reform was created. However, leaks from cabinet ministers suggested that key decisions on Brexit were not adequately shared outside the prime minister’s inner circle.

When Johnson succeeded May as prime minister, he radically altered the mix of committees, reducing them to just six, three of which were largely focused on concluding Brexit, the over-riding priority of his government. This exemplifies the UK government’s tendency to reconfigure committees rapidly in response to shifts in political priorities, demonstrating the flexibility of the system, as it quickly did when Brexit was completed.

In response to the pandemic, new configurations were again created, with three new committees set up, while another was created to deal with the challenges of the UK approach to Afghanistan. At the time of writing, there were 20 committees listed on the government website. In some cases (e.g., for Global Britain or COVID-19), there are separate strategy and operations committees.

Cabinet committees reduce the burden on the cabinet by enabling collective decisions to be taken by a smaller group of ministers. Since the Conservative government of Edward Heath (1970 – 1974), it has become an established norm that decisions settled in cabinet committees are not questioned in full cabinet unless the committee chair or the prime minister decide to do so.
Most cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated by committees, in particular proposals of political or strategic importance.
Committees serve a purpose in dealing with various matters, which include: highly sensitive issues, for example revenue or security matters; relatively routine issues, for example a government’s weekly parliamentary program; business that is labor intensive or requires detailed consideration by a smaller group of ministers, for example the expenditure review that takes place before the annual budget, or oversight of the government’s initiatives in relation to a sustainable environment. The prime minister usually establishes a number of standing committees of the cabinet (e.g., expenditure review, national security, parliamentary business). Additional committees, including ad hoc committees, may be set up from time to time for particular purposes, such as handling a national disaster.
Cabinet committees have both the legal and de facto power to prepare cabinet meetings in such a way as to allow the cabinet to focus on vital issues. The de facto power to sort out issues before they go to cabinet belongs to senior officials in the Privy Council Office and, should it be required, the Prime Minister’s Office, not to cabinet committees. Still, this allows the cabinet to focus on strategic policy issues.
Coordination is strong across the French government, and is in the hands of the PMO and the President’s Offices, which liaise constantly and make decisions on every issue. Coordination takes place at several levels. First at the level of specialized civil servants who work as political appointees in the PMO (members of the cabinet, that is political appointees belonging to the staff of the prime minister), then in meetings chaired by the secretary-general and finally by the prime minister himself, in case of permanent conflicts between ministers or over important issues. In many instances, conflicts place the powerful budget minister or minister of finance in opposition to other ministries. Appeals to the prime minister require either a powerful convincing argument or that the appealing party is a key member of the government coalition, as it is understood that the prime minister should not be bothered by anything but the highest-level issues. A powerful instrument in the hands of the prime minister is his capacity to decide which texts will be presented to the parliament with priority. Given the frequent bottlenecks in the process, ministerial bills can end up indefinitely postponed.

The council of ministers takes place once a week. There are also a large number of interministerial committees chaired by the prime minister or the president. Most of these committees meet upon request. While plenty of them hold meetings every week, these are usually attended by the ministers dealing with the topics discussed, and include only the ministers and secretaries of state involved. In some cases, these meetings might be chaired by the secretary-general of either the President’s Office or the Prime Minister’s Office, two prestigious and powerful high civil servants who respectively serve as the voices of the president and prime minister. An ad hoc council dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic issue was set up under the direct authority of the president. It includes a rather unusual mix of ministers and bureaucrats as well as public and private experts.

In 2017, the new government introduced the practice of government seminars with the aim of improving cohesion and harmonization. The team spirit seems to have improved considerably in comparison with the past, given that many ministers are not professional politicians.
Cabinet committees are established by the government and managed by the Department of the Taoiseach. Cabinet committees derive their authority from government. Membership of cabinet committees includes cabinet ministers, ministers of state (junior ministers) and may also include the attorney general.

When a policy area cuts across departmental boundaries or is an urgent priority (e.g., Brexit or the COVID-19 pandemic), a common response is to set up a cabinet committee. The number of committees, and their relative size and composition is at the discretion of the Taoiseach. As such, there is no semi-permanent standing committee structure, as there is in some other countries.

For example, under the 2002 – 2007 government, there were 11 cabinet committees, in the following government there were only six.

This means that many government ministers will serve on multiple cabinet committees, sometimes simultaneously. In 2011, the minister for finance was a member of five out of eight cabinet committees. The essential job of cabinet committees is to coordinate policy initiatives, especially when substantive policy proposals concern multiple different ministries.

In 2022, there are 10 cabinet committees. The most recent addition focuses on COVID-19, while the other committees focus on economic recovery and investment; housing; healthcare; the environment and climate change; social affairs and equality; education; European affairs; Brexit and Northern Ireland, and government coordination (Gov, 2021). The committees range in size from six to 13 members, with the exception being the Government Coordination Committee, which brings together the three heads of the coalition parties and serves as a steering committee for the government program.

Each of the cabinet committees is supported by a group of senior officials from the civil service who meet in advance of the committee to prepare agendas and identify problem areas. It has been reported that, during the 2000s, “cabinet committees were attended not only by cabinet members but also by senior officials and often heads of agencies too” (Hardiman et al. 2012, 116).

In terms of their official composition, members are a mixture of full cabinet ministers and ministers of state. The taoiseach, tánaiste, minister for the environment, minister for finance, and minister for public expenditure and reform are members of each committee.

Cabinet committees are chaired by the taoiseach or a senior official of the Department of the Taoiseach. Cabinet committees generally make policy recommendations, which are followed up by a formal memo to the government.
Gov (2021) Cabinet Committees of the 32nd Government, Department of the Taoiseach, 05 January, available at:

Hardiman, N., Regan, A., & Shayne, M. ‘The Core Executive: The Department of the Taoiseach and the Challenge of Policy Coordination, in Eoin O’Malley and Muiris MacCarthaigh (eds, 2012), Governing Ireland: From Cabinet Government to Delegated Governance. Dublin: IPA.

For information about Cabinet Committees see:
A significant number of policy proposals require de jure scrutiny by a Council of Ministers committee or even the explicit consent of a plurality of ministers. In a number of cases, this is only a formal exercise and the Council of Ministers committees are not an important mechanism. It is more significant that a number of important issues are de facto dealt through consultations among a few ministers (and their ministerial cabinets) before being brought to the Council of Ministers or are sent to this type of proceeding after preliminary discussion in the council. These consultations, which usually include the Treasury, typically avoid conflicts in the Council. Discussions of policy proposals in Council of Ministers meetings are typically very cursory. Most problems have been resolved beforehand, either in formal or informal meetings.

Under the Draghi government, the ability of cabinet committees, some of them guided by the prime minister himself or by the finance minister, to review and coordinate proposals of strategic importance has significantly increased compared to previous cabinets.
There are no cabinet committees in the strict sense. The Council of Ministers (Luxembourg’s cabinet) has to rely entirely on the work of line ministries or interministerial groups, if more than one department is concerned. Generally, the Council of Ministers is well prepared, as only bills that have been accepted informally are presented. Moreover, bills must be scrutinized by experts at the Ministry of Finance and the inspector general of finance (Inspection générale des finances. This informal body ensures that coherence prevails. The Prime Minister’s Office has assumed some horizontal competences on issues that concern more than one ministry, notably in the field of administrative simplification, ethical and deontological questions.

There are regular sessions of the government council. The government council includes ministers and sometimes state secretaries, although there are currently no state secretaries. There are no other cabinet committees outside the government council. Additional cabinet committees do not seem necessary as there are ad hoc meetings between relevant ministers on specific issues. The system is not rigid or predetermined, but works well.
“Government.” The Luxembourg Government. (2021). Accessed 14 January 2022.

“Arrêté grand-ducal du 14 novembre 2014 fixant les règles déontologiques des membres du Gouvernement et leurs devoirs et droits dans l’exercice de la fonction” (Mém. A - 212 du 25 novembre 2014, p. 4161). Accessed 14 January 2022.
Cabinet committees play an important role in the preparation of cabinet proposals in Slovenia and settle issues prior to the cabinet meeting. The Janša government, similar to previous governments, has kept the three standing cabinet committees: the Committee of State Matters and Public Issues, the Committee of National Economy and the Commission of Administrative and Personnel Matters. In the first 20 months of the Janša government, the three committees met 180 times in regular in-person meetings and 67 times at a correspondence sessions.
The question for the U.S. system is whether, if the White House advisory processes prepare issues thoroughly for the president, and whether interagency committees prepare them thoroughly for decision by the relevant cabinet members. The U.S. system of advisory processes varies considerably, even within a single presidential administration, but is largely under control of the president’s appointees in the White House. The process is to a great extent ad hoc, with organizational practices varying over time and from one issue area to another. Typically, important decisions are “staffed out” through an organized committee process. However, the ad hoc character of organization, along with the typically short-term service of political appointees renders the quality of these advisory processes unreliable.

President Trump’s White House thoroughly neglected the role of managing an organized, systematic policy process. Decision processes were described as chaotic, even by insiders. The Biden administration has moved away from these chaotic processes with the goal of returning to the more orderly management style of the Obama administration, in which Biden served as vice-president.
Although Lithuania’s government can create advisory bodies such as government committees or commissions, the number and role of such committees has gradually declined since the beginning of the 2000s, when coalition governments became the rule. Top-priority policy issues are frequently discussed in governmental deliberations organized before the official government meetings. The Strategic Committee is composed of several cabinet ministers, the chancellor and a top prime-ministerial deputy who manages the government’s performance priorities, policy and strategy. Another government committee, the Crisis Management Committee, advises the government on crisis management. A Governmental European Union Commission continues to act as a government-level forum for discussing Lithuania’s EU positions; made up of relevant vice-ministers and chaired by the minister of foreign affairs. Separately, a new commission established at the end of 2018 has been tasked with developing a strategy for sustainably increasing the wages of public sector employees through 2025. In 2019, another commission was created to advise the government on issues related to technology, science and innovation. Furthermore, there is a commission focusing on the monitoring of national human resources, as well as a petitions commission. However, these coordination processes are often detached from the daily political agenda, and paid little attention by ministers, who are often driven by their party agendas; for example, this means that some policymakers show little interest in the EU agenda and its connection to Lithuania’s national policies.
Most ordinary meetings of the Portuguese cabinet – the Council of Ministers – are used for policy decisions rather than strategic policy debates.

Political issues and strategic policy considerations are by-and-large prepared by an inner core of ministers, augmented by other ministers and staff when required. This inner core is an informal group, with a composition that can vary depending on the policy area.

In addition, Council of Ministers meetings are preceded by a formal weekly meeting of junior ministers (Reunião dos Secretários de Estado), which is intended to prepare the Council of Ministers meeting. These meetings of the junior ministers play a crucial role in filtering out and settling more technical issues prior to cabinet meetings. These meetings are chaired by the minister for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (Presidência do Conselho dos Ministros), who has a seat in the Council of Ministers.
South Korea
Formally, the cabinet is the executive branch’s highest body for policy deliberation and resolution. In reality, the role of the cabinet is limited because all important issues are discussed bilaterally between the Blue House and the relevant ministry. However, bureaucratic skirmishing takes place on many issues. The Blue House’s capacity to contain rivalries between the various ministries tends to be relatively high early in a given president’s official term. However, coordination power becomes weaker in a lame-duck administration. Committees are either permanent, such as the National Security Council, or created in response to a particular issue (e.g., Presidential Committee on Carbon Neutrality). As many government agencies have recently been moved out of Seoul into Sejong city, the need to hold cabinet meetings without having to convene in one place at the same time has been growing, and the law has therefore been amended to allow cabinet meetings in a visual teleconference format.
Council of Ministers committees (onderraad) involve a separate meeting chaired by the prime minister for the ministers involved. Each committee has a coordinating minister responsible for relevant input and documents. Discussion and negotiations focus on issues not resolved through prior administrative coordination and consultation. If the committee fails to reach a decision, the matter is pushed up to the Council of Ministers.

Since the Balkenende IV Council of Ministers there have been six standing Council of Ministers committees: international and European affairs; economics, knowledge and innovation; social coherence; safety and legal order; and administration, government and public services. Given the elaborate process of consultations and negotiations, few issues are likely to have escaped attention and discussion before reaching the Council of Ministers.

However, since the Rutte I and II government, cabinets have consisted of two or more political parties of contrary and/or very divergent ideological character in the Second Chamber (the conservative-liberal VVD and the PvdA or Labor Party, in the case of Rutte II; VVD, CDA, CU and D66 in Rutte III). Political pragmatism has tended to transform “review and coordination” to, in the Dutch political jargon, “smart positive exchange,” meaning that each party agrees tacitly or explicitly not to veto the other’s bills. This tendency has contributed to the public image of a “managerial” governing style, and may have had negative consequences for the quality of policymaking, as minority views in the cabinet have effectively won parliamentary majorities if they were feasible from a budgetary perspective, without first undergoing rigorous policy and legal analyses. In the second half of the Rutte III cabinet, much to the dismay of VVD and D66, government lost majority support in the Senate and, thus, had to garner ad hoc political support for its policy initiatives through elaborate negotiations with political parties that were not part of the governing coalition. Introducing a wider range of perspectives and decision criteria though, may have increased the quality of policymaking and the democratic nature of the process, given that not only ministerial committees but also political parties were involved.
Trouw, Lagas. 14 February 2013. Heerlijk helder ruilen lukt VVD en PvdA niet., November 2, 2017. Rutte bereikt compromis en sluit bezuiniging wijkverpleegkundige uit.

Trouw, Kieskamp, 19 July 2020. Ruttes lelijke akkefietje met de Eerste Kamer.

De Correspondent, Chavannes, 27 November 2020. De overheid werd een bedrijf dat mensen onverdiend wantrouwt. Alleen Kamer en kabinet kunnen die denkfout herstellen.
Ministerial or cabinet committees are not necessarily central when it comes to decision-making on policy matters. Depending on the topic, ministerial committees are more or less involved in preparing cabinet proposals, especially those of relatively significant strategic or financial importance. These proposals are normally coordinated effectively.
The rules of procedure of the Croatian government provide for different kinds of cabinet committees and assign a major role in policy coordination to them. The prime minister and the vice prime ministers form the core cabinet (Uži kabinet vlade). In addition, there are various permanent and non-permanent cabinet committees that focus on particular issues. As there is little ex ante coordination among ministries, controversies are often pushed upwards, with cabinet committees playing an important role in resolving conflicts. However, the quality of coordination suffers from the fact that cabinet committees are absorbed by these disputes and other matters of detail.
There are cabinet committees tasked with overseeing specific policy sectors. However, before 2019, with few exceptions, cabinet committees did not engage in systematic coordination over cabinet proposals. Since the change in government in July 2019, there has been a rejuvenation in cabinet committees and visible progress has been achieved in this field.

There are two permanent such councils, the Government Council on National Security (KYSEA) and the Government Council on Economic Policy (KYSOIP). The law provides also for the formation of ad hoc interministerial committees. Proposals of strategic or political importance are first reviewed in such committees, before then being submitted to the cabinet for government approval.
The law reorganizing government committees is Law 4622/2019.
Cabinet committees rarely prepare cabinet meetings, although the Budget Committee and some ad hoc committees are exceptions. However, the majority of items on cabinet meeting agendas are prepared by ministers often with two or more ministers coordinating the cabinet meeting. In the immediate aftermath of the 2008 economic collapse, cooperation between ministers increased, particularly between the prime minister, the minister of finance and the minister of commerce. However, this change was temporary and intended only to facilitate the cabinet’s immediate reactions to the 2008 economic collapse. In February 2013, new regulations were introduced permitting the prime minister to create single-issue ministerial committees to facilitate coordination between ministers where an issue overlaps their authority areas.

Records must be kept of all ministerial committee meetings, but these are not made public.

The number of ministerial committees to coordinate overlapping policy issues was reduced from seven to three in 2016, but has since been increased to six.
Rules on procedures in ministerial committee meetings. (REGLUR um starfshætti ráðherranefnda. Nr. 166/2013 22. febrúar 2013).

Cabinet committees (Ráðherranefndir), Accessed 23 December 2021.
The government is authorized to appoint cabinet committees (called ministerial committees) to handle different policy issues and is obligated to appoint certain committees such as the State Security Cabinet, which is in charge of foreign and security policy, and the ministerial committee for legislation. Currently, there are 23 ministerial committees on a wide range of topics. According to past studies, 50% of governmental decisions between 2009 and 2015 were first approved by a ministerial committee. The impact of ministerial committees on cabinet proposals and operations varies. The permanent committees are considered pivotal to government work. Some of the ad hoc committees are also influential, while others reflect a more symbolic status.
Cabinet committees and their authorities,” the ministry of Justice website 24.6.1996 (Hebrew)

Data proves: Ayelet Shaked is the real prime minister of the State of Israel, June 2018,

Friedberg, Chen, “The Knesset’s Committees – Foretold Failure?,” The Ben-Gurion Law Proposal –Amendments of ‘Basic Law: The Government,’ 2015
‘Decade of Ministerial Committees – comparative study’ – January 2016,
Citizens’ Empowerment in Israel (Hebrew):

“Ministerial Commitees.” PMO’s website (12.11.2015),

Much housing, little health: the priorities of the government are revealed, The Marker, 2017,

Research Institute for the Study of Israel & Zionism (January 2010) (Hebrew)

“The guidelines for government work,” PMO’s website (Hebrew)
Working Plan Book 2017-18, PMO Office, March 2017: (Hebrew)

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation postponed the discussion by 40% of the bills, Calcalist, May 2015,,7340,L-3688732,00.html

‘Transparency in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation’ – February 2016, The Socia Guard,Transparency in the Ministerial Legislative Committee, (Hebrew)
Government committees exist in a number of important fields in which coordination among ministries with de facto overlapping jurisdictions plays an important role. The most important is the Council for Economic and Fiscal Policy (CEFP), headed by the prime minister. However, this has never been a “ministerial committee” in a strict sense. First, it has only an advisory function. Second, individuals from the private sector – two academics and two business representatives in the current configuration – are included. This can increase the impact of such councils, but it also means they are somewhat detached from political processes.

Former Prime Minister Abe (2012-2020) strengthened the formal role of the CEFP and setup the Headquarters for Japan’s Economic Revitalization as a “quasi-sub-committee” of the CEFP encompassing all state ministers. The CEFP or the Headquarters are expected to hold initial discussions on the assignment of policies to committees, while the cabinet has to approve decisions. However, given Abe’s strong grip on the policy process, council discussions lost some of their relevance.

There are currently four councils operating directly under the Cabinet Office: the CEFP, Council for Science and Technology Policy, Central Disaster Management Council, and Council for Gender Equality (CGE). Among them, the CGE probably has the lowest profile.

The creation of the National Security Council in 2013 was a similar case in which interministerial coordination was intensified in the interest of asserting the prime minister’s policy priorities.
Important councils, Cabinet Office, (accessed 17 February 2022)

‘Bold’ economic and fiscal policy in Japan becoming a mere facade, Editorial, The Mainichi, 22 June 2019,
Malta’s EU presidency helped to strengthen and refine Malta’s cabinet and ministerial committees. Since the 2017 election, greater stress has been placed on such committees, which report to the cabinet. Most of these committees remain focused on issues that cut across ministerial portfolios, but some ad hoc committees are more focused on single ministerial policies. The new prime minster, who took office in 2020, has advocated for the use of special committees, and immediately set up a special cabinet committee for constitutional reform. In October 2020, the government set up a Cabinet Committee on Governance to implement all the recommendations on good governance and rule of law which have been submitted by the Venice Commission, GRECO and MONEYVAL. Another committee was tasked with exploring the decriminalization of personal cannabis use.
Harwood Mark, Malta in the European Union 2014 Ashgate, Surrey
In Slovakia, cabinet committees composed exclusively of ministers are an exception. By contrast, other ministerial committees consisting of ministers and senior civil servants and chaired by the four appointed vice prime ministers or line ministers have played a major role in the preparation of government proposals, and have been quite effective in settling controversial issues prior to cabinet meetings. However, they are neither formally nor systematically involved in the preparation of cabinet meetings, partly as these bodies usually reside at the line ministries. In November 2020, the Matovič government established a new Government Council for the European Green Deal, led by the Ministry of the Environment.
Until the PMO was abolished in July 2018, the Better Regulation Group within the PMO ensured coordination among related agencies and institutions and improved the process of creating regulations. In addition, the government has created committees – such as the anti-terror commission under the Ministry of Interior, which includes officials from the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice, as well as other security departments. These are composed of ministers, experts, bureaucrats, and representatives of other bureaucratic bodies (such as those on legislation techniques, legislation management, and administrative simplification, and regulatory impact analysis) in highly important policy areas or when important or frequently raised issues were under consideration.

As of 1 August 2018, several coordination committees and boards, presidential policy councils, and other public institutions were established in association with the presidency. During the review period, observers have publicly pointed to the need for coordination mechanisms between the ministries, parliament and the governing party.
Gözler, K. (2018). Mahalli İdareler Hukuku. Baskı, Ekin Kitabevi: Bursa.
There is little review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees.
Forming ad hoc and ministerial committees is a regular practice, which derives from the need to coordination between ministries on policies with overlapping competences. The constitutional limit of ministries (11) creates multiple overlapping areas. Existing committees deal with sector-specific matters that are within the powers of many ministries. The formulation of policy frameworks is also within their purview. Departments or technical committees mainly from within the ministries support their work; in some cases, they may seek contributions from external experts. The scope of work and degree of efficiency in committee coordination are not easy to assess, given that no activity reports are published.
1. Cabinet decides to set up committee to aid Lebanese people, Cyprus Mail, 21 August 2021,
The Czech government routinely establishes advisory and working bodies made up of cabinet members, ministry officials and other experts to support its activities. According to the issue under consideration, such entities may be given permanent or temporary status. In addition, there are advisory bodies, commissions and councils that are managed by individual ministries and which deal with issues related to the ministries’ portfolios. The most important ministerial committees are the National Security Council and the Committee for the European Union. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Crisis Staff, a working body of the National Security Council for resolving crisis situations, has gained importance. The committees discuss and approve policy documents. However, they do so in an ad hoc fashion and are not systematically involved in the preparation of cabinet meetings.
As a rule of thumb, the cabinet functions as an institution that formally ratifies policy decisions that have been made elsewhere. In principle, line ministers are responsible for policies within their own jurisdiction. Therefore, they have a strong leeway to pursue their own or their party’s interests, though each ministry must to some extent involve other ministries while drafting bills. Formal cabinet committees do not play an important role in policymaking and are rarely involved in the review or coordination of proposals. One exception is the Federal Security Council, which coordinates security and defense policy and decides, for example, on arms exports.
The Orbán governments have occasionally set up cabinet committees, but such committees have played a subordinate role only in interministerial coordination, as the number of ministries has been limited and as there has been strong coordination from above. During the 2018–2022 parliamentary term, there were three committees: an economic cabinet, a cabinet on strategy and family issues (a mixed shop committee for various issues), and a national security cabinet.
Mexico is unusual, because the constitution does not recognize the cabinet as a collective body. Instead, Mexico has four sub cabinets, respectively dealing with economic, social, political and security matters. As a result, Mexico in practice has a system of cabinet committees each of them normally chaired by the president. The full cabinet never or hardly ever meets. Mexico’s cabinet, as a collective, matters less than in most countries. The cabinet is not a supreme executive body as it is in, say, Britain. For one thing, there are a number of heads of executive agencies, with cabinet rank, who are not directly subject to a minister. President López Obrador is trying to reduce the importance and number of independent and autonomous bodies and agencies, as a means of increasing his power. By the end of the review period, many bodies had been staffed with loyal followers of the president. The central political figure has been and is the president.
In Romania, ministerial committees, which are composed of one minister, deputy ministers and public servants, feature prominently in interministerial coordination. They are used for preparing decisions on issues that involve multiple ministries. However, de facto coordination of the process is typically led by the line ministry initiating the policy proposal. By contrast, committees consisting only of ministers or with several ministers are rare.
No cabinet or ministerial committees coordinate proposals for cabinet meetings in Bulgaria. There are many cross-cutting advisory councils that include several ministers or high-ranking representatives of different ministries and have some coordinating functions. These might thus be seen as functional equivalents to ministerial or cabinet committees. The role of the councils, which often feature rather broad membership, is quite limited in substantive terms. Inasmuch as there are individual members from various ministries who sit on a number of such committees, their personal involvement may ensure some level of coordination between proposals.

Formally and informally, in effect of the nature of the four-party coalition government, this tradition is subject to change, and to include more oversight on behalf of the ministers and the prime ministers.
The number and role of cabinet committees under the PiS government have been limited. Conflicts among ministries are ultimately resolved not by cabinet committees but by PiS leader Kaczyński and his immediate circle, including Prime Minister Morawiecki. Since Kaczyński joined the cabinet as deputy prime minister in October 2020, he has been head of the newly created Committee of the Council of Ministers for National Security and Defense Affairs, a position that has given him formal oversight of the justice, defense and interior ministries.
There is no review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees. Or: There is no ministerial or cabinet committee.
There have been no cabinet committees in the period under review. More generally, unlike coalition committees (informal meetings between senior representatives of the coalition parties), cabinet committees have not been a feature of executive organization and governance in the Second Republic.

However, in 2020, an institutionalized mechanism of coordination between various departments concerning youth issues (Koordination Jugendthemen) was created. This structure includes a coordination unit in each department, with the Chancellor’s Office responsible for overall coordination.
Estonia does not have a committee structure within government, or any ministerial committee. Ministers informally discuss their proposals and any other pending issues at weekly consultative cabinet meetings. No formal voting or any other selection procedure is applied to issues discussed in consultative meetings.
Cabinet committees were an integral part of the official decision-making process. If ministerial agreement on draft policy proposals cannot be reached at the state-secretary level, issues were automatically taken up by a cabinet committee for resolution and the cabinet committee’s mandate is to iron out differences prior to elevating the proposal to the cabinet-level.

However, since May 2019, following a resolution by the prime minister, the cabinet committee no longer meets. The last meeting took place on 15 April 2019. Issues that were once considered by the committee are now addressed either in the meetings of the state secretaries (if the issue is one that can be resolved at the civil service level), or in the meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers (if the issue can be resolved politically).

Special steering groups may also be set up to resolve disagreements and speed up decision-making. An example of this is the Operational Steering Group on COVID-19 issues.
1. State Chancellery (2018), Report, Available at (in Latvian):, Last assessed: 06.01.2022.

2. Cabinet of Ministers (2019) According to the Resolution of the Prime Minister of 7 May 2019, the organization of meetings of the Cabinet Committee is not planned for the future, Available (in Latvian) at:, Last accessed: 06.01.2022.
Not surprisingly, given the small number of ministries, there are no cabinet committees in Switzerland’s political system. However, there is considerable coordination, delegation and communication at the lower level of the federal government. Every minister is in a sense already a “ministerial committee,” representing the coordination of numerous cooperating departmental units.
There is none to little use of formal cabinet committees within Norway’s political system. The whole cabinet meets several times a week and generally works together as a full-cabinet committee. Policy proposals which involve several ministries may be prepared by ad hoc comittees consisting of state secretaries (“junior minister”), most often when the government is a coalition of parties. However, such ad hoc committees are rare, and should not be considered as part of standard procedures.
There are no standing cabinet committees in the Swedish system of government. Cabinet proposals are coordinated through iterations of sending drafts of bills to the concerned departments. This usually takes place at the middle level of the departments and thus does not involve the political level of the departments.

The cabinet is both a policy-shaping institution as well as the final institution of appeal on a wide range of issues. There is also a requirement that the cabinet must be the formal decision-maker on many issues. This means that the cabinet annually makes more than 100,000 decisions (mostly in bulk).
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