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5 months ago
Describe the EU legislative process. What changes did the Single European Act make to it?
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Business and Its Environment
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The European Union has three basic proceduresconsultation, co-decision, and assentfor developing directives and regulations. The SEA established the assent procedure, which gives the EP a veto over council action. The assent procedure is used for decisions about admission of new member states, international agreements, and the structure of the European Central Bank.
The consultation procedure was used for nearly all important issues prior to the SEA, and subsequent treaties replaced it with the co-decision procedure.
The Maastricht Treaty established the co-decision procedure, and the scope of its use was expanded in the Treaty of Amsterdam and the Treaty of Nice, and further expanded in the Treaty of Lisbon, which renamed it the ordinary legislative procedure.
This procedure gives the EP a greater role and more power relative to the Commission and the Council. This procedure begins as in the consultation procedure, but once the opinions of the EP and the EESC have been obtained, the Council develops by qualified majority a common position on the proposal. It is then sent to the EP for a second reading. If the EP approves the proposal, it is enacted. If an absolute majority of the EP votes against the common position, it is defeated and the process ends. If the EP amends the common position, the Council can accept the amendments, thereby enacting the proposal. If the Council rejects the amendments, a conciliation committee composed of members of the Council and the EP is formed. If they reach agreement, the amended proposal is enacted by qualified majority of the Council and a simple majority of the Parliament at the third reading. If no agreement is reached, or if either the Council or the Parliament fails to approve the amended proposal, the proposal fails.
The ordinary legislative procedure is said to be bicameral, since approval by both the Council and Parliament is required. The procedure is not fully democratic, however, because the popularly elected Parliament cannot enact laws itself. The ordinary legislative procedure is thus best viewed as a legislative process in which both the Parliament and the Council have a veto.
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