EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Special legislative procedure

The special legislative procedure means that the Council is the only legislator, instead of being co-legislator on equal footing (codecision) with the European Parliament on a legislative proposal made by the European Commission (ordinary legislative procedure, used for the majority of EU legislation).

Article 289(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provides that, for certain cases defined in specific treaty articles, the Council is the only legislator and the Parliament is required to either:

  • consent to the Commission’s proposal;
  • be consulted on it.

Consent procedure

Under this procedure:

  • the Parliament can accept or reject a legislative proposal by an absolute majority vote, but it cannot amend the proposal;
  • the Council does not have the power to overturn the Parliament’s opinion.

This procedure is used when new legislation on combating discrimination is proposed.

Article 352 TFEU gives the Parliament the right of veto, when that provision of the Treaty is used as a legal basis for adopting the proposal made by the Commission.

The procedure is also used in the cases of:

  • the adoption of certain international agreements negotiated by the EU (for example, trade agreements with one or more non-EU countries or international organisations (Article 207(3) TFEU or agreements listed in listed in Article 218(6)(a) TFEU));
  • the accession of new EU Member States;
  • a serious breach of fundamental rights (Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU));
  • a country wishing to withdraw from the EU (Article 50 TEU).

Consultation procedure

Under this procedure:

  • the Council adopts a legislative proposal only after the Parliament has provided its opinion;
  • the Parliament may approve, reject or propose amendments to the Commission’s legislative proposal but the Council is not legally required to take these into account;
  • Parliament is consulted in the case of a non-legislative procedure where international agreements have been negotiated under the EU’s common foreign and security policy;
  • Parliament is consulted in the case of legislation in certain specific areas like competition policy (Article 103 TFEU) and harmonisation of indirect taxation (Article 113 TFEU) taxation.