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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Legislative procedures

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Legislative procedures

 

SUMMARY OF:

Article 289 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

WHAT IS THE AIM OF ARTICLE 289 OF THE TREATY ON THE FUNCTIONING OF THE EUROPEAN UNION?

It reforms the EU’s previous decision-making process, thus strengthening its capacity to take decisions and action.

KEY POINTS

Article 289 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) concerns 2 types of legislative procedure:

Ordinary legislative procedure

  • Under the ordinary legislative procedure, the European Parliament is a co-legislator with the Council. Originally introduced under the Maastricht Treaty, when it was called the co-decision procedure, this procedure is now the most widely used method of EU decision-making. The TFEU changes its name and extends it to cover areas of policy such as:
  • The operation of the ordinary legislative procedure is described in detail in Article 294 TFEU. The Parliament and the Council legislate on an equal footing. The 2 institutions adopt legislative acts either at first reading or at second reading. If, following the second reading, the 2 institutions have still not reached an agreement, a Conciliation Committee is convened.
  • Under the ordinary legislative procedure, decisions are adopted by qualified majority, which is a system that ensures:
    • that a decision is carried out when there is both a majority of EU countries (55% in most cases, but 72% in some); and
    • that these countries represent at least 65% of the EU’s population.
  • The TFEU also introduces ‘passerelle clauses’. These clauses enable the ordinary legislative procedure to be used in other areas normally outside its scope, under certain conditions.

Special legislative procedures

Special legislative procedures, as their name implies, are the exception from the ordinary legislative procedure. These are used in certain more sensitive policy areas. Unlike in the case of the ordinary legislative procedure, the TFEU does not give a precise description of special legislative procedures. The rules for these are therefore defined on a case-by-case basis by the treaty articles that lay down the conditions for their implementation.

Under special legislative procedures, the Council is, in practice, the sole legislator. The Parliament is simply associated with the procedure. Its role is thus limited to consultation (such as under Article 89 TFEU concerning cross-border police operations) or consent (such as under Article 86 TFEU concerning the European Public Prosecutor's Office) depending on the case.

BACKGROUND

MAIN DOCUMENT

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Six: Institutional and financial provisions — Title I: Institutional provisions — Chapter 2: Legal acts of the Union, adoption procedures and other provisions — Section 1: The legal acts of the Union (Article 289) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 172)

last update 19.09.2017

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