European Union by liaoqinmei


									EU Institutions and the Ordinary
legislative procedure

    dr. Páczay György
    22 June 2011.
European Union

Institutions and functions
              EU Institutions and Bodies
                              EU Insitutions

                              European Council (summit)

                                 Council of Ministers
European Parliament                                       European Commission
                                 (Council of the EU)

Court of          Court of
Justice           Auditors     European Central Bank

                                  EU Bodies
                                Advisory Bodies (EESC,     Ombudsman and Data
Financial Bodies (EIB, EIF)
                                         CoR)              Protection Supervisor

EU institutions

   EU in constant evolution
     exercise some sovereignty
     the treaties that have created it

   EU institutions in constant evolution
     balance of power among institutions
     new institutions

   EU institutions dense and complex
       a triangle of institutions plus the court
Triangle of institutions

- European Parliament
    elected directly by the people of the Member
- Council of the European Union
    representing the governments of the Member
- European Commission
    driving force, agenda setter, and executive
     body („EU Government” – exclusive right to
     take legislative proposal)
European Commission

 - Commission proposes EU legislation
 - Commission oversees and monitors
   implementation of EU policy
      transposition of EU law into national laws
 - Commission is
    the guardian of the Treaties (TEU, TFEU)
    to agitate for the future and development of
     the European integration
European Commission’s main roles

- to propose legislation to Parliament and
  the Council,
- to manage and implement EU policies and
  the budget,
- to enforce EU law (jointly with the Court of Justice),
- to represent the European Union on the
  international stage, for example by negotiating
  agreements between the EU and
  other countries
Legislative proposals

- The Commission alone is responsible for drawing up
  proposals for new EU legislation, which it presents to
  Parliament and the Council
- Propose action at EU level only if it considers that a
  problem cannot be solved more efficiently by national,
  regional or local action – principle of „Subsidiarity”
- Consultation with experts, Green (starting debate to solve
  a specific problem) or White Papers (plan of codification
  of a larger field), hearings, reports, impact assessments
  (possible effects of future actions), legislative drafts
- Two advisory bodies – the European Economic and
  Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions
Enforcing European law

- „guardian of the Treaties” - Commission,
  together with the Court of Justice, is
  responsible for making sure EU law is properly
  applied in all the MS
- „infringement procedure” if Commission finds
  that a MS is not applying an EU law – Official
  letter (Notice), Justified opinion, Commission
  will refer the matter to the Court of Justice to
  decide (Decision of the Court of Justice of the
  EU, possible financial sanctions)
Representing the EU on the
international stage

- voice of the EU in international forums
- Commission speaks and negotiates
  on behalf of the EU in areas where the EU have
  exclusive and shared competences (mandate adopted
  by QMV in the Council) or MS entrust it (by a unanimity
- Appearence of the Commission and the Council
  (represented by actual Presidency) in international
  forums – huge institutional debate on this topic due to
  contradictious provisions of the Treaties – practice:
  common representation approved by ad hoc
European Commissioners (27)

   Appointed by member states for 5-year term,
   President nominated by the European Council,
   the Commission President-designate is then
    approved by the European Parliament,
   Commission President-designate chooses the other
    members of the Commission,
   President and all members of the new commission
    approved by the European Parliament,
   President assigns each commissioner a portfolio of
    precise tasks.
European Commissioners (27)

   A college of equals
     broad participation in collective debate
     Commission votes only when there’s no
      consensus (simple majority)
   Are all required to swear
     “to be completely independent in the
      performance of their duties
     “neither seek nor take instructions from any
      government or from any other body
Roles of the Council of the EU

- to pass EU laws – jointly with the European
  Parliament in many policy areas,
- to coordinate the broad economic and social policies of the MS,
- to conclude international agreements between the EU and other
  countries or international organisations,
- to approve the EU’s budget, jointly with the European Parliament,
- to define and implement the EU’s common foreign and security policy
  (CFSP) based on guidelines set by the European Council,
- to coordinate cooperation between the national administration, courts
  and police forces in civil and criminal matters.

-    The bulk of the Council’s work is in passing legislation in
     areas where the EU has pooled its sovereignty
-    Most common legislative procedure = ordinary legislative
     procedure (co-decision) – later on
-    Other major legislative procedures:
     a) consultation (e.g. taxation, competition): proposal from the
     Commission – consultation with the EP, consultative bodies – EP’s
     decision: approval / rejection / amendments – Commission – Council
     adopts the final decision
     b) assent (e.g. international agreements): Council has to obtain the
     European Parliament’s assent before certain very important decisions
     are taken - procedure is the same as in the case of consultation,
     except that Parliament cannot amend a proposal: it must either accept
     or reject it. Acceptance (‘assent’) requires an absolute majority of the
     votes cast.
Concluding international agreements

The Council ‘concludes’ (i.e. officially signs)
a number of agreements between the
European Union and non-EU countries, as
well as with international organisations.

          Approving the EU budget
The EU’s annual budget and the multiannual
financial framework is decided jointly by
the Council and the European Parliament.
Different configurations of the Council

 1.   Configurations
      - General Affairs,
      - External Relations,
      - Economic and Financial Affairs (Ecofin),
      - Justice and Home Affairs,
      - Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs – CAP:
      food quality, food labelling
      - Competitiveness,
      - Transport, Telecommunications and Energy,
      - Agriculture and Fisheries – CAP: CMOs (e.g. sugar, cereals,
      fruits&vegetables etc.), animal and plant health, food safety, CFP
      - Environment – environmental issues + GMOs, so called
      „greening” approach
      - Education, Youth and Culture
 2.   multiplicity of different councils
 3.   90 council meetings per year on average
Voting in the Council of the EU

 - Complex decision rules:
   1) unanimity (in some areas e.g. sanctions against MS breaching the
   main values of the EU, setting up common defense, admission of new
   MS etc.)
   2) simple majority voting
   3) qualified majority voting (345 total of votes) – until 2014
       largest (DE, FR, IT, UK) – 29 votes, smallest (MT) – 3 votes
       A qualified majority is reached:
      1) if a majority of MS (in some cases a two-thirds majority)
      approve and,
      2) if a minimum of 255 votes is cast in favour — which is 73.9% of
      the total.
       In addition, a MS may ask for confirmation that the votes in favour
      represent at least 62% of the total population of the Union. If this is
      found not to be the case, the decision will not be adopted.
Structure of the Council of the EU

 -3 level structure of the Council
   1st: ministerial meetings
   2nd: Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) -
   MS ambassadors to the EU, their deputies and top staff – CAP:
   Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA)
   3rd: Council working parties – legislation mainly at expert level
 - Council Secretariat (administrators, members of the Council
   Legal Service, legal linguists, etc.)
   Prepares and ensures the smooth functioning of the Council’s
   work at all levels – main partner of the Presidency
 - Council Presidency: The presidency of the Council rotates
   every six months. Each MS in turn takes charge of the Council
   agenda and chairs all the meetings for a six-month period,
   promoting legislative and political decisions and brokering
   compromises between the MS
Presidency of the Council

  Presidency of the Council of the EU
     rotates among MS every 6 months
     oversees Council-Commission relationships
      (e.g. briefing before each Council meeting)
     coordinates Council-Parliament interactions
      (e.g. trilogues, reports to the EP committees)
     presides over and prepares the European
      Council summits
     speaks for the EU externally on foreign
      policy matters (excepting trade)
The European Council

    Institutionalization of regular meetings of
    EU heads of state and government
Role of the European Council

- the EU’s “board of trustees”
       to supplements the strategic capacities of the triangle of institutions
       to agree overall EU policy and to review progress. It is the highest level
        policymaking body in the European Union, which is why its meetings
        are often called „summits”
       to provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development
        and shall define the general political directions and priorities thereof
       not exercise legislative functions
       decisions of the European Council shall be taken by unanimity
- usually 2 summits during each 6-month presidency of the Council of
       presidents or prime ministers plus one other minister (usually the
        foreign minister) + President of the European Council + the President
        of the Commission + High Representative of the
        Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
European Parliament

1) growing power and influence
2) Members of European Parliament (MEPs)
   have been directly elected since 1979
   5-year terms

   run on national party tickets

3) 732 seats allocated among MS
     number of seats for each country ranges from
      99 (Germany) to 5 (Malta)
Current political groups in the EP

Group of the European People's Party (Christian
Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists
and Democrats in the European Parliament
Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats
for Europe
European Conservatives and Reformists Group
Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance
Confederal Group of the European United Left -
Nordic Green Left
Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group
European Parlament’ work

 -   Preparing for the plenary session:
     a) MEPs debate the Commission’s proposals in committees
     (specialise in particular areas of EU activity)
     b) „Rapporteur” of a proposal – prepares a Report – assisted by
     „shadow rapporteurs”
     c) Report gives the background and the pros and cons of the
     d) The issues for debate are also discussed by the political groups
 -   Plenary session:
     a) Each year, 12 four-day plenary sessions are held in Strasbourg
     and six two-day sessions are held in Brussels
     b) Parliament examines proposed legislation and votes
     on amendments before deciding on the text as a whole
Main roles of the European Parliament

 1. Passing European laws — jointly with the Council in
    many policy areas. The fact that the EP is directly
    elected by the citizens of the EU helps guarantee the
    democratic legitimacy of European law.
 2. Exercising democratic supervision over the other EU
    institutions, and in particular the Commission. It has
    the power to approve or reject the nomination of
    commissioners, and it has the right to require the
    Commission as a whole to step down.
 3. The power of the purse. Parliament shares with the
    Council authority over the EU budget and can
    therefore influence EU spending. It adopts or rejects
    the budget in its entirety.
Passing European laws

 - Co-legislator: ordinary legislative
   procedure (co-decision) + some areas -
   consultation or assent procedures
 - Providing impetus for new legislation by
   examining the Commission’s annual work
   programme, considering what new laws
   would be appropriate and asking the
   Commission to put forward proposals.
European Court of Justice

 1) The Court’s main tasks:
 - reviewing the legality of the acts of the institutions of the European Union,
 - ensuring that the Member States comply with obligations under the Treaties,
 - interpreting European Union law at the request of the national courts and
 2) Court of Justice – General Court – EP & Council may establish specialised
 3) One judge from each EU country, eight advocates-general, at least one
     judge from each MS, renewable terms of six years, judges appoint their
     President, for a period of three years, from amongst themselves.
 4) - chamber of three, five or 13 judges (Grand Chamber), or before the full
    - Judgments of the Court are decided by a majority and pronounced at a
     public hearing. Decisions are published on the day of delivery. The
     procedure in the General Court is similar, except that there is no opinion
     from an advocate-general.
Proceedings before the Court of Justice

 1) references for a preliminary ruling,
 2) actions for failure to fulfil an obligation – so called
    „infringement procedure”,
 3) actions for annulment,
 4) actions for failure to act,
 5) appeals (against decisions of the General Court),
 6) reviews (European Union Civil Service Tribunal –
    General Court – Court of Justice)
 - Judgements – Orders
 - Special forms of procedure (simplified, urgent)
European Central Bank

 1) European Central Bank
     sits atop a system of European central
     responsible for monetary policy

     manages the euro

 2) Complete autonomy in monetary sphere
     indirectly decides on economic policy
Other EU institutions and bodies

  - 7 institutions
  - Financial Bodies:
      - European Investment Bank, European Investment Fund
  - European Ombudsman and European Data Protection
  - Advisory Bodies – EESC and CoR
  - Interinstitutional Bodies:
     - Office for Official Publications of the European Union
     - European Personnel Selection Office
     - European Administrative School
  - Decentralised bodies (Agencies) of the European Union
     e.g. OHIM, in the field of CFSP, area of freedom, security and
     executive agencies
The ordinary legislative procedure
Actors and phases of the
ordinary legislative procedure
 1. Legislative proposal of the Commission
 2. 1st reading in the European Parliament
 3. Amended proposal of the Commission
 4. 1st reading in the Council of the EU
 5. 2nd reading in the European Parliament
 6. 2nd reading in the Council of the EU
 7. Conciliation procedure
1. Legislative proposal of the
   Exclusive right to take legislative initiatives
   Public consultations, preparations, impact
   The Commission shall submit the proposal
    to the European Parliament and the Council
    (and send it to national parliaments)
   If   the Council aims to amend a
    Commission’s proposal it needs to adopt the
    amended text only by unanimity
2. 1st reading in the European
    Adopts its position and communicates it to the
    The rapporteur (master of the issue) – assigned
     from the MEPs – coordinates the preparation of
     the position (+ role of shadow rapporteurs)
    The report of the rapporteur is adopted by
     appropriate parlamentary committee then the
     plenary session (+ amendments)
    The Treaty does not set any time limit for the
     European Parliament to give its position.
3. Amended proposal of the
    Commission may alter its legislative
     proposal, enabling it to incorporate
     European                          Parliament
     amendments which, in its view:
        - improve the initial proposal, and / or
        - are likely to facilitate an agreement.
4. 1st reading in the Council

 - The Council finalises its position on the basis of the
 Commission’s proposal, amended where necessary, in
 the light of the European Parliament’s first reading and
 resultant amendments:
 - the Council accepts without alteration the
 Commission’s proposal, which the European Parliament
 has not amended, and the act can be adopted,
 - the Council accepts all the European Parliament’s
 amendments which the Commission has incorporated
 into its amended proposal, and the act can be adopted,
 - in all other cases, the Council adopts a common
Common position of the
  Politicalagreement in principle of
  the legal act + Recitals + legal-
  linguist check = Common position
   General approach: The Council may, on
    occasion, reach an agreement in principle
    before the European Parliament delivers
    its position to influence the adopted EP’s
    position at 1st reading

   Informal trilogues (Council + COM + EP)
    eases reaching an agreement
5. 2nd reading in the European
  Council forward the Common position to the
   EP together with a statement of reasons
  A three-month time limit (this period may be
   extended by a month) to take action on the
   basis of the Council position at first reading.
  Commission delivers an opinion on the
   European Parliament’s amendments.
  EP’ internal procedure is essentially the same
   than during the 1st reading
Possible results of the 2nd reading in
the EP:

 approves the Council’s position at first
  reading or has not taken a decision - act is
  deemed to have been adopted
 rejects, by a majority of its component
  members - proposed act is deemed not to
  have been adopted
 amendments to the Council’s position at
  1st reading→ 2nd reading in the Council
6. 2nd reading in the Council

    The Council has a period of three months (which
     may be extended by a further month) to comment
     EP’s amendments:
       Council approves all those amendments - act in
        question is deemed to have been adopted
       Council does not approve all the amendments
        of the European Parliament → 3rd reading =
        Conciliation procedure
7. The Conciliation procedure

  Delegations of the Council and the EP attempt to
   reach an agreement along with the amendments
   of the EP and the common position.
  Convening a meeting of the Conciliation
   Committee within six weeks (may be extended
   by two weeks) from the time of the Council’s
   rejection of EP’s amendments
  Informal trilogues at technical or political levels
   exploring possible avenues of compromise in an
   informal manner
 The COREPER negotiates the proposals during this
  stage not the Council working parties.
 The Council (represented by the Presidency) has to gets
  through the Common position against EP’s amendments
  during the conciliation procedure.
 Six weeks (may be extended by two weeks) from the
  start of the negotiations to reach an agreement
  - Agreement – „Joint text”: → legal act is deemed to
  have been adopted (The EP and the Council must adopt
  the act within six (or eight) weeks, in line with the Joint
 - European Parliament and the Council do
 not approve the Joint text
→ legal act is deemed not to have been
 adopted and the legislative procedure is
Presidency’s role is important during
the whole procedure

- 1st reading in the Council until the
  possible conciliation procedure
- Chairing WPs, COREPER / SCA, Council
  Meeting – informal trilogues during the
  1st and the 2nd reading (Presidency
  represents the Council – 27 MS) – get
  involved in the Conciliation committee –
  signing with the President of the EP the
  adopted legal act
             Thank you for your
dr. Páczay György
Legal Adviser
Ministry for Rural Development
Department for EU Coordination
1055 Budapest, Kossuth tér 11., room no. 329
Phone: (06-1) 795-20-37
Cell phone: (06-30) 227-35-80

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