European Union legislation
As an independent organization with legal personality , the European Union also has its own legislative powers in the form of legal acts (in contrast to the EU treaties, also called secondary Union law ). They are divided into legislative acts and non-legislative acts .
Legislation is based on a legislative procedure similar to that in most democratic states, in which the European Parliament takes part as the representative of the people and the Council of the European Union as the representation of the member states ( chamber of states ). A distinction is made between the ordinary legislative procedure , which makes up most of the legislative acts, and the special legislative procedure , which is only used in exceptional cases.
Types of Legislative Acts
According to Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), EU legal acts are divided into:
- Ordinances (general regulation with direct domestic validity; would correspond to a law in national law)
- Directives (general regulation to be implemented by the member states into national law within a certain period of time; it is binding with regard to the goal, but leaves the member states the choice of form and means)
- Resolutions (binding regulation in individual cases; a decision is only binding for the addressees specified therein; would correspond to an administrative act under national law )
- Recommendations and opinions (not legally binding)
Right of initiative
The European Commission has generally the sole right of initiative for legislative acts. The European Parliament (according to TFEU ) and the Council of the European Union (according to TFEU) can, however, ask the European Commission to propose a legal act, whereupon it has to deliver at least one opinion. Such a request is also possible for EU citizens within the framework of a citizens' initiative ( EU Treaty and TFEU).
In a binding declaration from 2010, the parliamentarians agreed with the commission to provide the applicable European legal provisions with an aid to interpretation, so that in future, at the initiative of parliament, the commission must submit a draft law within twelve months or justify it in detail within three months why she doesn't. Thus, for the first time, the European Parliament has at least a limited right of initiative.
In the Member States too, the lion's share of legislation is prepared in the governments. As in the EU, only those regulations that are approved by Parliament become law. An independent right of initiative would be the keystone in the institutional set-up of the EU Parliament.
Ordinary legislative procedure
The ordinary legislative procedure ( TFEU ; formerly co-decision , also co-decision procedure , Code: COD ) is the now most important legislative procedure. Here the parliament has a full right of co-determination and can also prevent a legal act. In the event of disagreements between the Council and Parliament, a conciliation committee is planned.
|List of policy areas with due legislative procedure|
Special legislative procedure
The special legislative procedure only takes place in the (rare) cases explicitly provided for in the treaties. The exact procedure is specified in the respective legal basis and is usually based on the options listed below. According to TFEU , the Council of the European Union, with the participation of the European Parliament, or, exceptionally, the European Parliament with the participation of the Council of the European Union alone, decides . The most important procedures are the consultation procedure and the consent procedure.
|List of policy areas with special legislative procedures|
I - ad hoc procedure
II - Sole acts of the European Parliament
III - Sole acts of the Council
Approval procedure (AVC)
The approval procedure (code: AVC ) was introduced with the Single European Act and gives Parliament the option of approving or refusing to approve certain Commission proposals. Parliament has a right of veto in these areas , but cannot change the proposals. After Parliament has given its approval, the Council will decide whether to accept the proposal, by a qualified majority or, where expressly provided for, unanimously . However, he can also amend the Commission's proposal by unanimous decision .
The procedure was originally intended only for the conclusion of association agreements or the examination of applications for accession to the European Community and is currently used in the following areas, for example:
- Subsidiary power to act ( TFEU )
- Aspects of non-discrimination and European citizenship ( TFEU ); and
- Creation of a European Public Prosecutor ( TFEU )
- Procedure for direct general elections to the European Parliament ( TFEU );
- Certain international agreements, especially if parliament were to be involved in internal legislation ( TFEU );
- Multiannual financial framework ( TFEU )
Consultation procedure (CNS)
The consultation or hearing procedure (code: CNS ) is only used in rare cases that are not expressly subject to the consent procedure or the ordinary legislative procedure. It was the original legislative process of the European Communities .
Following a proposal from the Commission and the opinion of the European Parliament and, if applicable, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions , the Council decides on the adoption of the proposal, by a qualified majority , with each Council member for "essential reasons of national policy, which it also must call “can veto (Art. 31 para. 2, subparagraph 2 TEU). Under this procedure, Parliament can approve or reject a legislative proposal or propose amendments to it. The Council is not legally bound by Parliament's opinion, but according to the case law of the Court of Justice it cannot take a decision until Parliament has given its opinion. This gives him a certain right of veto.
Former procedure: Cooperation procedure (SYN)
The cooperation procedure (Code SYN, most recently regulated in EC Treaty ) gave the European Parliament, when it was introduced by the Single European Act, for the first time the opportunity to not only take part in the legislative process in an advisory capacity. Parliament can amend the Council's common position; unlike the co-decision procedure, however, ultimately the Council alone decides.
Legal acts without legal character
In addition to legislative acts, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union also includes non-legislative acts. Like delegated acts and implementing acts, these are based on legislative acts or directly on the Treaties.
In order to reduce the flood of detailed legislative acts, the Lisbon Treaty provides for the creation of delegated acts. In legislative acts, the Council and Parliament can authorize the Commission to adopt delegated acts ( TFEU ). These correspond roughly to the German statutory ordinances . These delegated acts can lead to the addition or amendment of non-essential points of the legislative act.
Even in the case of delegated legislation, the actual legislative bodies retain the right to
- to withdraw the power of the Commission or
- object to the Commission's decision within a reasonable period of time; if such are collected, the decision of the commission does not come into force.
The application of delegated acts is laid down in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The conditions for the delegation of powers are determined individually in each legislative procedure.
In principle, the Member States are responsible for enacting the relevant implementing provisions for the implementation of legislative acts. However, under TFEU, the Commission or, in special cases, the Council can be empowered to adopt implementing acts. This is particularly the case when uniform conditions are required for the implementation of binding legal acts. If the Commission issues implementing acts, it is monitored by the Member States in special committees ( comitology ). Further details are provided in a regulation that the Council and the European Parliament adopt in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure.
Legal acts based on the treaties
In addition to the procedures mentioned, there are other legal acts without legislative character which the organs of the European Union take in accordance with the provisions of the treaties. In addition to the legislative bodies of the Council and Parliament, such legal acts can also be passed by other institutions such as the European Commission or the European Central Bank .
Certain non-legislative acts are adopted jointly by the Council and the European Parliament , similar to the legislative acts . The procedures described above, such as the consultation procedure or the consent procedure, are also used. Examples are:
- International agreements: According to TFEU , the Council usually decides; in particular if parliament's approval is required for relevant legislative acts, its approval is also required for relevant international agreements.
- Determination of human rights violations ( TEU ): Here the European Council or the Council decides with the consent of the European Parliament .
- Simplified treaty amendment procedure ( TEU ): The European Council decides here with the consent of the European Parliament .
- Accession of new member states ( TEU ): Here the Council decides with the consent of the European Parliament .
- Modalities for the exit of member states ( TEU ): Here the Council decides with the consent of the European Parliament
- Approval of enhanced cooperation
Designation of legal acts
Since January 1, 2015, uniform numbering of legal acts of the European Union has been applied. This is determined by the Publications Office of the European Union . The aim and purpose is to harmonize and simplify the designations. Legal acts are therefore generally designated and numbered as follows, whereby only the numbering is assigned by the Publications Office of the EU: Type of legal act (contract code) YYYY / No.
Examples from January 1, 2015
- VO (EU) 2015/1 = Regulation ( VO ) of the European Union ( EU ) from 2015 (always four digits) with consecutive no. 1 (first legal act in 2015. There are now consecutive numbers, regardless of the type of Document and the underlying contract).
- Decision (EU, Euratom) 2015/2 = legal act Decision of the European Union ( EU ) and Euratom from 2015 with consecutive number 2 (second legal act in 2015).
- Regulation (EU) 2015/3 of the European Parliament and of the Council ...
- Directive (EU) 2015/4 of the European Parliament and of the Council ...
- Council Decision (EU) 2015/5 ...
- Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/6 ...
- Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/7 ...
- Commission Implementing Directive (EU) 2015/8 ...
- Decision (EU) 2015/9 of the European Parliament ...
- Decision (EU, Euratom) 2015/10 of the European Parliament ...
- Note: Bold type in the examples is for illustration only!
The previous designations / numbering that were used up to January 1, 2015 remain in effect (e.g. Regulation (EU) No. 524/2013 or Directive 2013/11 / EU etc.). Special rules are also applied to international agreements and corrections.
Certain documents are given two names:
- Legal acts and instruments of the ECB, e.g. E.g .: Decision (EU) 2015/33 of the European Central Bank ... (ECB / 2015/1 )
- Resolutions of the Political and Security Committee, e.g. E.g .: Decision (CFSP) 2015/258 of the Political and Security Committee ... (EUBAM Libya / 1/2015 )
The number assigned by the Publications Office does not contain a contract abbreviation for the following documents and is placed in square brackets at the end of the title:
- Legal acts by bodies established by international conventions, e.g. E.g .: Decision No. 2/2015 of the ACP-EU Committee of Ambassadors ... [2015/45]
- Legal acts that have been adopted within the European Economic Area (EEA), e.g. E.g .: Decision of the EEA Joint Committee No. 58/2015 ... [2015/100]
- Legal acts that have been adopted within the framework of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), e.g. E.g .: Decision of the EFTA Surveillance Authority No. 02/10 / COL ... [2015/101]
- Regulations of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), e.g. E.g .: Regulation No. 28 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) ... [2015/46]
For the harmonized designation of decisions of the courts of the Union member states including the Court of Justice of the European Union , the European Patent Office ( European Patent Court ) and all other interested states and international organizations, see: European Case Law Identifier .
Critics complain that the working method, especially in the cooperation and consultation procedures, is not transparent enough ( comitology ). Overall, the national parliaments' ability to participate is often criticized as being too limited ( the EU's democratic deficit ). To counter this, is in the Treaty of Lisbon, the observance of which entered into force on 1 December 2009, an "early warning system" is provided in which the national parliaments are informed of all legislative proposals of the Commission and these have the ability to subsidiarity principle to review and intervene if necessary. Recently, a “fast track” procedure in the so-called trialogue has also been criticized. In addition, the parliaments of the member states work together in the Conference of European Committees (COSAC).
- Ines Härtel: Handbook of European Legislation . Springer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York 2006, ISBN 3-540-30664-1 .
- Wolfgang Wessels : Legislation in the European Union . In: Wolfgang Ismayr (Ed.): Legislation in Western Europe. EU countries and the European Union . VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-8100-3466-3 , pp. 653-683.
- Comitology, second edition: On delegated acts and implementing acts. (PDF; 88 kB) In: Current Comment. Deutsche Bank Research, January 11, 2011, accessed July 22, 2011 .
- Scientific Services of the German Bundestag: The Ordinary EU Legislative Procedure ( Memento of May 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 71 kB)
- List of German EU abbreviations ( Memento from November 22, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
- Overview of the legislative process in the EC ( Memento of November 4, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
- EU Parliament gets more power , EurActiv.de, January 28, 2010.
- European Commission: Types of EU Laws
- HARMONIZATION OF THE NUMBERING OF EU LEGAL ACTS .
- Examples according to the Publications Office of the European Union on the website on HARMONIZING THE NUMBERING OF EU LEGAL ACTS .
- See statement European Movement Germany from 2014 ( Memento from April 15, 2014 in the Internet Archive )