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In the context of the European Union’s ordinary legislative procedure, a trilogue is an informal interinstitutional negotiation bringing together representatives of the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. The aim of a trilogue is to reach a provisional agreement on a legislative proposal that is acceptable to both the Parliament and the Council, the co-legislators. This provisional agreement must then be adopted by each of those institutions’ formal procedures.

A trilogue may be held at any stage of the legislative procedure with the aim of resolving outstanding issues and is chaired by the co-legislator hosting the meeting. The Commission’s role is to mediate between the parties.

Informal trilogue meetings should not be confused with conciliation committee meetings, which are a formal step of the ordinary legislative procedure after the second reading. In both cases, all three abovementioned institutions are represented and the goal is to agree on a provisional agreement or a joint text respectively.

In 2007, the Parliament and the Council issued the joint declaration on practical arrangements for the codecision procedure, recognising that ‘the trilogue system has demonstrated its vitality and flexibility in increasing significantly the possibilities for agreement at first and second reading stages, as well as contributing to the preparation of the work of the Conciliation Committee’.