In My Day: Legislative procedure

Written by Richard Corbett on 19 November 2015 in Opinion
Opinion

Parliament’s increasing powers have helped close the EU’s democratic deficit, writes Richard Corbett.

 

Until 1979, the European Parliament was composed of delegations from national parliaments. It had only the right to be consulted on a small range of proposals before adoption by the Council of Ministers.

This meant that ministers could adopt new laws without recourse to an elected assembly – a severe ‘democratic deficit’ in the legislative process.

From these humble beginnings, Parliament’s stature has increased through a series of treaty revisions. In 1970 and 1975 it gained the power to adopt the EU budget, and to amend it (within ceilings).


RELATED CONTENT


In 1987 it also gained the power to approve or reject a range of international agreements. MEPs also acquired the power not just to supervise but to appoint the European Commission, now including the election of the Commission president.

Within ten years of directly electing full-time MEPs, Parliament’s role as co-legislator also began to expand. First there was the cooperation procedure, granting MEPs the right to amend proposals in some areas (subject to override by Council).

Codecision, which removed the override for limited fields in 1993, gradually morphed into the ‘ordinary legislative procedure’, now applicable to almost all fields where rules are made at European level.

Over four decades, the European Parliament has evolved from a largely consultative assembly into one half of a genuine bicameral system, with an equal role to that of Council in nearly all fields of European law making.

About the author

Richard Corbett is a Labour Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire & the Humber, UK.

Interested in this content?

Sign up to our free daily email bulletins.

 

Share this page

Tags

Categories

Related Articles

Issue 465 | 20 November 2017
21 November 2017

Julian King interview, Cybersecurity, Press Freedom, Cohesion Policy,  Wildlife Trafficking, Rare Diseases, Workers' Rights, Open Innovation, Security of Energy supply, 5...

Press freedom is under attack
17 November 2017

The murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia along with 1000 other journalists since 2006 highlights the growing intimidation and dangers reporters face.

Terry Reintke on #MeToo: If we don't keep up the pressure, nothing will change
7 November 2017

Terry Reintke talks ensuring #MeToo is more than mere words, why men need to be part of the conversation and why Parliament’s power dynamics need to change.

Related Partner Content

What Europe can do to resolve the Qatar crisis
20 July 2017

If Europe is serious about fighting terrorism and extremism, the institutions of the EU need to be more actively engaged in the current situation involving Qatar, argues Richard Burchill.

Between EU and Eurasia: Which future for human rights in Armenia?
2 December 2015

Armenia's abrupt political U-turn, clearly imposed by Moscow, has interrupted a number of promising legislative processes in the field of human rights.

The case for reforming the European arrest warrant: Alexander Adamescu vs. Romania
27 October 2016

The case of Alexander Adamescu underlines why the European arrest warrant needs urgent reform, argues Mitchell Belfer.