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Committees’ role in European Commission’s implementing powers

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Committees’ role in European Commission’s implementing powers

Before adopting implementing acts, the European Commission has to consult a committee comprising representatives of each of the EU countries on the draft that it is proposing.

ACT

Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers.

SUMMARY

Before adopting implementing acts, the European Commission has to consult a committee comprising representatives of each of the EU countries on the draft that it is proposing.

WHAT DOES THIS REGULATION DO?

The regulation lays down the rules for the control by EU countries of the exercise by the Commission of its implementing powers (Article 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)). This control is by means of what are known in EU jargon as ‘comitology’ procedures, i.e. the Commission must submit each draft implementing act to committees consisting of EU countries' representatives and chaired by the Commission.

According to the Commission’s latest report on developments in regard to the comitology system, there are about 300 committees that cover virtually all of the EU’s competences (in particular agriculture, environment, transport, health and consumers, etc.). In 2013, the Commission adopted more than 1 700 implementing acts.

KEY POINTS

The regulation lays down two procedures for controlling the Commission's exercise of its implementing powers (granted by the legislator).

The examination procedure: this is mainly used for: (i) measures of general scope and (ii) measures in certain policy fields (for example agriculture, fisheries, environment, health, trade and taxation).

Commission implementing acts must receive the support of a qualified majority (a weighted system of voting where 16 of the 28 EU countries must vote in favour and these votes must represent at least 65 % of the EU's population) of the committee. If the committee gives an unfavourable opinion, the Commission may submit the draft act to an appeal committee to see whether the examination of the measure should continue or amend the text. If the outcome of the committee discussions is a ‘no opinion’, the Commission may adopt the draft act under certain conditions.

The advisory procedure: this is generally used for all other implementing measures (for example individual measures in the field of culture). The Commission must take the utmost account of the opinion of the Committee, which is adopted by a simple majority (a majority of those voting).

Right of scrutiny of the European Parliament and the Council: when the basic legislative act has been adopted under the ordinary legislative procedure (the most common decision-making procedure, covering the majority of policy areas, and in which the European Parliament and the Council have equal weight), the European Parliament or the Council may at any time inform the Commission that it considers the proposed implementing act to exceed the powers conferred on the Commission. In such cases, the Commission must review the draft act and decide to maintain, amend or withdraw it.

FROM WHEN DOES THIS REGULATION APPLY?

From 1 March 2011.

BACKGROUND

Article 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union allows the Commission to adopt implementing measures for a legal act when uniform conditions of implementation are necessary. The basic legal act must explicitly confer on the Commission the power to adopt implementing acts.

See also the European Commission’s comitology website.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 182/2011

1.3.2011

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OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, pp. 13-20

RELATED ACTS

Report from the Commission on the working of committees during 2013 (COM(2014) 572 final of 16.9.2014).

Last updated: 20.01.2015

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