European Law the Ordinary Legislative Procedure
n European Law the Ordinary legislative procedure is used when drafting hard law to ensure that the democratically elected representatives of the EU citizens have an equal say in appropriate areas of law making. There will be a brief analyse of the Ordinary legislative procedure and a discussion on it. European Law is very complex law , within EU law there is various different treaties which are in place.
Two most significant treaties which have importance to the legislative process are The Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union.
The Treaty on European Union also known as the Maastricht Treaty was signed in Maastricht 7th of February 1992 and the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union also was known as the treaty of Rome until the Treaty of Lisbon came Enforce and changed it’s name , the original Treaty of Rome was signed in 25 March 1957. These two treaties have effect on the constitute of the Union , and in effect these two documents had all ready created a Federal State which was recognised by the European Court of Justice this was before the Treaty of Lisbon as put in place.
Within EU there are two types of Legislation Primary and Secondary. Primary legislation is the ground rules or basis which is set out in the treaties. Secondary Legislation includes regulations, directives and decisions these are derived from the principles and objectives set out in the treaties . The EU’s standard decision-making procedure is known as ‘co-decision’. This means that the directly elected European Parliament has to approve EU legislation together with the Council.
The TEU established the co-decision procedure , this provided the European Parliament with new powers of amendment and right to reject legislation. This procedure was carried on through out all the treaties , however the Treaty of Lisbon renamed the co-decision procedure to the ordinary Legislative procedure. The ordinary Legislative procedure is highlighted in article 294 of the TFEU. The ordinary Legislative Procedure must be applied wherever the legal base provides that an act shall be adopted “ in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure” (art 294 (1) TFEU. The procedure begins with the commission submitting a proposal to the European Parliament and the council. The commission also take into account since the treaty of Lisbon they must also propose this forward to the national parliaments this can be seen in protocol 1 and 2 of the TEU. The next stage is the first reading and normally the first reading is by the European parliament. First Reading The parliament decides whether or not to view the proposal which was made by the commission , the parliament then contacts the council and tells them its view of the proposal.
Then there are two possibilities which can arise: If the council approves the Parliament’s position , the council , acting by qualified majority , shall adopt the act concerned . The wording of the act will correspond to the position of the parliament ( art 294(4) TFEU);. If the Council does not approve the Parliament’s position , the Council , acting by a qualified majority ; shall adopt its position and communicate its position to the parliament and communicate its position to the parliament (art 294(5) TFEU. The Council shall inform the Parliament fully of the reasons why it adopted its own position at first reading (art 294(6 TFEU). This will obviously include reasons as to why the council has rejected the Parliament’s position. The commission shall also inform the Parliament fully of its position (art 294(6) TFEU). The first reading of legislation is very length and time consuming. When the council disapproves of the legislation instead of going straight to the commission who projected the future piece of legislation they report back to the Parliament then vice versa .
This is making this process very complex as instead of doing two steps this could be easily completed in one ,the Council could just report back to the commission and this would make this process so much more effective This would also allow the hard law to be implemented quickly so they can take direct effect within the EU. Second Reading The Parliament has three months from their first initial contact with the council about the commissions proposal for legislation if they have not came to a decision whether or not to carry on with the proposed legislation or agree with the Councils view on it .
Then the council will be deemed to adopt the act in accordance with its position Art 294(7)(a) TFEU. The Parliament can take different approaches within the three month timeframe. The Parliament can reject the Council’s perception if they do so then the act would be considered not to have been implemented. This is known as veto and prevents the bill becoming law. However in order for this procedure to take place there must be a majority vote of the component members of parliament.
Or they can vote an majority vote to propose the amendments of the future legislation which the council has proposed. In my opinion I think that it is beneficial that the parliament can chose to make the law veto as personally the parliament members are for the citizens of the European Union therefore as they have the power of veto then they can ensure fair and effective legislation is introduced into Europe and not just any old law which is only really benefiting members of the Council.
Although in order to make the law veto there must be a majority which I personally don’t think its fair as alias are likely to stick together ie France, Germany etc normally side with each other these major European countries hold the most power in central Europe therefore this can have an major effect on the smaller countries like Malta. The smaller countries may be forced to implement law which they did not agree to , but due to the majority vote it will have to be implemented or the proposed piece of legislation which would benefit them significantly may be rejected.
Once the parliament amends the piece of legislation it then has to be agreed by the European parliament members, the amendments are then sent to both the Council and the Commission. The Commission then looks over the draft piece of legislation and looks particularly at the amendments and they liaise with the parliament giving their opinion of the amendments which the parliament made. The Council has a different role in regards to the amendments.
They Council does not give there opinion but merely can reject all amendments , accept all amendments , or accept some amendments and reject others. This stage is unnecessary personally because the commission has all ready give their opinion of the legislation as they came up with the idea to create the legislation and generally have a outline of what the legislation should consist of , although it does have its Also the Council has also gave their own opinion in the first reading.
The Parliament has a huge work load because of this as they are continuingly asking for opinions and are constantly having to change the draft to suit the Council and Commission. This can have a huge effect to the hard law within Europe as countries can choose to opt out of specific pieces of legislation , as the Council , EP and the Commission would be continuously back and forth with opinions trying to make the law suit every member state.
For example when the Treaty of Lisbon was first introduced Ireland refused to sign it and because of this it resulted in a second referendum being conducted in 2009. Also Czech Republic negotiated an opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Personally in my own opinion this is not fair allowing countries to opt out of certain pieces of legislation or treaties. This defeats the purpose of the EU being established. The European Union was created to ensure fairness , equality and satiability within Europe and try to unite Europe as one.
Allowing countries to opt out is not creating a fair and equal Europe it is simply just allowing member states to do things their own way to suit themselves. Generally I believe that the majority of EU members do not take the time and consideration to review the law that is being presented to them and how this could actually benefit or effect the citizens that they are suppose to be representing at times I feel members of the EP , Commission and the Council only think about themselves and how it could effect them not the citizens.
The Council must act within 3 months of receiving the amendments from the parliament. The council approves all the amendments of the Parliament acting;(i)by a qualified majority if the Commission has also accepted all the amendments; (ii) by unanimity if the commission has rejected all the amendments or (iii) by a mixture of the two if the Commission has accepted some (qualified majority) an rejected others (unanimity) in this case the act is deemed to have been adopted (art 294(8)(a) and 294 (9) TFEU)
If the Council does not want to approve all the change in the act , then in this case the President of the Council and the President of the European Parliament must liaise with each other and come to an agreement and conduct a meeting of the Conciliation Committee within the six week time period. This is highlighted I ( art 294(8)(b) TFEU) Conciliation Committee The conciliation committee of an equal amount of members from the council and also an equal amount of members from the European parliament.
There aim is to agree on the draft piece of legislation which was conducted , within the second reading and come to an agreement of how the legislation should be written. However there must be a majority vote of both the EP and Council members. The commission also takes part in the discussions and “ shall take all necessary initiatives with a view to reconciling the positions of the European Parliament and the Council” After the meeting with the Conciliation Committee there are two possibilities which could occur: The EP and Council can agree with the joint test and then the act Would be deemed to be adopted
However a third reading of the act may be required this is seen in Article 294 (13) & (14) TFEU. In this article it explains what the third reading consists of , according to the article it states “ if , within that period , Conciliation Committee approves a joint text , the European Parliament , acting by majority of the votes cast , and the Council, acting by a qualified majority , shall each have a period of six weeks from that approval in which to adopt the act in question in accordance with the joint ext. If they fail to do so, the proposed act shall been deemed not to be adopted. Section 14 relates to the time frame the EP and Council has ; “ The period of three months and six weeks referred to in this Article shall be extended by a maximum of one month and two weeks respectively at the initiative of European Parliament or the Council. This third reading yet again is simply another procedure which is not required although if both the EP and the Council cannot agree , where do you go from there? Personally I think there should be more stricter rules when creating legislation , especially when the council needs a majority vote , this is making the process a more lengthy procedure as the Council may be agreeing to adopt the law but because there is no a majority vote it has to go for a further reading. The ordinary legislation suggests in its integrity suggests a common procedure however this is not the case this , procedure is very complex and time consuming. Generally I feel this process contradicts it’s self completely.
The European Parliament is demanding more powers from the Council but the Council is not willing to accept these demands. However it is made apparent in article 296 TFEU that the Parliament can choose to make the law veto , but cannot demand for the amendments they have made to the draft to be accepted. Therefore the Parliament must either accept or reject the amendments , which completely defeats the purpose of common procedure . Once the EP makes the law veto the its back to square one again.
To conclude personally I feel that the ordinary legislation procedure for European Law is very complex and contradicts its self in so many ways. Therefore I do not think it is a very effective way to create hard law as the parliament can choose to make the law veto however cannot reject all amendments , is this not just making the law negative ? The European Union was created to ensure equality and fairness within its members states I believe the EU is not fulfilling its objectives and it gives far to much power for the Council , the Council is elected members of state who were elected by majority , they are not really representing the
European citizens , personally I think the Parliament should have more powers as they are for the citizens. “ Law of the European Union” John Fairhurst (Pearson ) 8th Ed “ Law of the European Union” John Fairhurst (Pearson ) 8th Ed Art 294(7)(a) TFEU this article relates to the 2nd reading of the legislative process it states “ approves the Council’s position at first reading or has not taken a decision , the act concerned shall be deemed to have been adopted in the wording which corresponds to the position of the Councils: Art 294(7)( c) TEFU. Law of the European Union” John Fairhurst (Pearson ) 8th Ed p136 art 294(8)(a) and 294 (9) TFEU. In this section of the article section (8) subsection A states “ approves all amendments , the act in question shall be deemed to have been adopted. ” this basically means that if the Council accepts the changes to the legislation within the second reading then it can become law and be implemented.
Article 294 section 9 states that “the Council shall act unanimously on the amendments on which the commission has delivered a negative opinion” this section suggest that the Council can accept some amendments and reject others by this must be agreed by everyone. Law of the European Union” John Fairhurst (Pearson ) 8th Ed p136 Article 294 TFEU Section 8 subsection (b) – “ does not approve all the amendments, the President of the Council, in the agreement with the President of the European Parliament, shall within six weeks convene a meeting of the Conciliation Committee”. Article 296(11)TFEU