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1 The co-decision procedure from the point of view of the European Commission European Commission Secretariat General - Codecision Unit Joachim D’Eugenio.

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Presentation on theme: "1 The co-decision procedure from the point of view of the European Commission European Commission Secretariat General - Codecision Unit Joachim D’Eugenio."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 The co-decision procedure from the point of view of the European Commission European Commission Secretariat General - Codecision Unit Joachim D’Eugenio

2 THE EU: A Union of Peoples and States Commission European Parliament Council of Ministers The “institutional triangle”

3 The Commission as an Institution: promoting the common interest The Commission has four main roles: proposes legislation to the Parliament and the Council manages and implements EU policies and budget – Execution power given by the Parliament and the Council – Own decision power (ex: competition policy) enforces European law (with the Court of Justice) represents the EU on the international stage

4 The functioning of the Commission (1) Collegiality principle -Decisions are taken by the “College” of 27 commissioners -These decisions and their execution imply the collective responsibility of all its members Principle of administrative coherence -All the services of the Commission make up one administrative body serving the College

5 Number of decisions taken by the College

6 The functioning of the Commission (2) DGs and services The personnel of the Commission is divided among (36) departments called «general directorates» (DG) or «services» (ex: the Legal Service) The Secretariat General (SG) has a “special role/status” Each DG is in charge of (a) particular area(s). Its Director General is responsible in front of the commissioner in charge of the area The DGs prepare the legislative documents of the Commission. These documents only become official after being “adopted” by the College The DGs manage the adopted programmes and policies

7 The role of the Secretariat General Main mission: -Guarantee the realization of the political priorities of the Commission, as defined by the President Added value : -Work planning -(Inter-)Institutional perspective, coherence (incl. ensuring collegiality) -Help political choices / arbitrage and mediation -Horizontal initiatives / policy strategies (e.g. “packages”)

8 8 Codecision in a nutshell  Parliament and Council co-decide with equal rights. No agreement --> no act.  Up to three readings with a possibility to conclude at each stage  If no agreement by the end of second reading --> “conciliation”  Commission: initiative, participation, mediation and promotion of EU interest

9 9 Codecision: Legal bases covered All EC policies except agriculture, fisheries, taxation, economic and monetray policy, trade, competition LISBON 80? 2009?

10 10 1st and 2nd reading agreements  1st reading deal: Institutions agree on a set of amendments voted in committee/plenary and endorsed by Council  2nd reading deal:  EP has no amendment to the Common position (« negotiated common position »)  EP and Council agree on a set of amendments voted in plenary and endorsed by Council  Agreement negotiated in “trilogues” and formalised through exchange of letters

11 Conciliation and trilogue meetings (hosted by EP)

12 Distribution of agreements over the past years Developments since 1999

13 Length of negotiations May December st reading 2nd reading Conciliation Average time in codecision 15.7 months32.0 months36.4 months

14 14 1st reading agreements (Development of average duration) ,3

15 15 Differences between 1st and 2nd reading deals  Find right balance between early adoption and protection of original proposal  Possibility of 1st reading deal not to be pursued unadvisedly for sensitive files (e.g. budget, legal, or institutional aspects)  Problem of 1st reading deal: less transparency and accountability between and within institutions  2 nd reading: better institutional setting for deal

16 16 More efficient and flexible than it looks… Joint Declaration – 1999 (revised in 2007) (OJ C 145, , p. 5) Promote fast adoption and avoid conciliation Work in parallel – Exchange of information Informal contacts at all stages for identifying positions and reconciling views Conciliation becoming the exception

17 17 Commission’s (formal) interventions Original Proposal Modified Proposal – anytime until common position – Formal modification: after 1s reading (approx. within 6 weeks procedure) – Oral modification with a view to political agreement Communication on Common Position (CP) – To be prepared as early as political agreement is reached – To be transmitted to EP with CP Opinion on EP 2nd reading (indicating Commission position) – Oral presentation before plenary to facilitate a 2 nd reading agreement – Formal submission, if possible, within 3 weeks after plenary – Preparation of conciliation

18 18 Commission’s role in codecision (Right of) Initiative Expertise (e.g. impact assessments) Participation in Council and EP work Mediator but… Key role in securing early adoption Preparation of execution/implementation “Guardian of the Treaty” Promotion of EU interest

19 19 Commission’s role: 1st and 2nd reading deals 1999 Joint Declaration: to facilitate tripartite contacts (can take initiative) “to exercise its right of initiative in a constructive manner with a view to reconciling the positions of the EP and the Council” Intermediary and (possibly) Mediator but also advocate of its proposal (with Treaty tools to protect it – unanimity in Council if Commission does not accept amendments) Institutional matters (right of initiative, legal basis, substantial modifications, Commission Declarations, comitology, budgetary issues)

20 20 Commission’s role: Conciliation  The Commission proposal is not the basis of the negotiation anymore  Commission = Mediator  (Art 251-4: “…shall take all the necessary initiatives with a view to reconciling the positions of the EP and the Council.” --> Opinion on EP’s 2nd reading amendments: may suggest compromise )  But also … “Guardian of the Treaty”  No formal power – No unanimity rule  Presence in all meetings

21 21 Key Commission actors Political Level Lead Commissioner Lead DG (Director-General/Director) negotiating in trilogues and Coreper Administrative Level Lead DG (Head of Unit, Administrator(s), inter-inst. coordinators) Secretariat General, Commission’s Legal Service, associated DGs (in particular in cross-cutting files (e.g. climate change))

22 22 Commission’s role: Internal decision making DG chef de file Secretariat General Coordination/Collegiality/Coherence Inter-institutional Relations Group (GRI) (weekly order of events PreGRI->GRI->HEBDO->College) Empowerment of Commissioners

23 23 GRI Inter-institutional Relations Group  Collegiality and collective decision making  Information and early warning  Authorization to pursue contacts and negotiate deals (support/suggest compromise, propose declarations, modify proposal, etc)  GRI Fiches All EP plenary votes in 1st and 2nd reading (authorization and empowerment) Council decisions (case by case) (Presidency compromise package) Preparation of conciliation committee

24 24 More info ? Thank You

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