European Decision Making and Legislative Process: Council and the European Parliament

Seminar Paper, 2008

6 Pages, Grade: B+


QUESTION: To what extend can one say that Council and the European Parliament are on an equal footing in the legislative process? Use examples if possible to back up your answer.

The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament both play an important role in the legislative process of the European Union. Once a proposal was submitted by the European Commission, Council and Parliament will decide on the issue by using one of four forms of legislative procedures: codecision, consultation or assent and cooperation. The choice of procedure depends on the policy area of the proposal. Influence and power of Parliament and Council differ depending on the type of legislative procedure in use. There are cases in which the Council is dominant, for example in the decision on the directive on software patents[1], and areas in which the Parliament is dominant, such as the decision on stock storage of telecommunication data in 2005.[2]

The codecision procedure was introduced with the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993.[3] Today, about eighty percent of all European Union decision making is done under codecision.[4] In this procedure, the Council shares power equally with the Parliament. They both receive the Commission’s proposal at the same time in order to deliberate about it separately. The Parliament can then put forward its amendments which will be tried to be taken onboard by the Council. Today, codecision is mostly concluded in first reading, which means that the Council already agrees with the Parliament’s amendments. If, however, the Council does not agree, it can put forward a common position. In the second reading, the European Parliament can veto this. If this is the case, the process will start over with a new proposal being put forward by the Commission. If Parliament and Council cannot agree on the proposed legislation at all, it is put before a conciliation committee. The fact that this committee consists of an equal number of Council and Parliament members[5] proves further the equality of the two bodies in this procedure. The committee’s agreement is then passed on to Parliament and Council so that law can be adopted. Conciliation however is only rarely used.[6]

This equality between Council and Parliament is, however, no longer prevailing if one regards the other legislative instruments of the European Union.

In areas such as agriculture, taxation and competition the consultation procedure comes into force. After having received a proposal from the Commission, the Council consults the European Parliament as well as the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee.[7] The Parliament now has the possibility to approve the proposal, request amendments or reject it completely. The Commission will then reflect on all Parliamentary suggestions and decide whether it wants to take all or some of them onboard. If so, the Council will receive the amended proposal from the Commission in order to decide whether it can now be adopted or further amendments have to be made. If one closely regards this procedure, it comes clear that the European Parliament can very well delay the final decision but does not have real influences on the outcome as its suggestions are not binding. Consequently, the Council’s power in the consultation procedure is larger than the Parliament’s.


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European Decision Making and Legislative Process: Council and the European Parliament
Diplomatic Academy of Vienna - School of International Studies
European Decision Making
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ISBN (eBook)
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384 KB
14 Einträge im Literaturverzeichnis, davon 12 Inetrnetquellen.
European, Decision, Making, Legislative, Process, Council, European, Parliament, European, Decision, Making
Quote paper
BA Julia Christin Bauer (Author), 2008, European Decision Making and Legislative Process: Council and the European Parliament , Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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