Ordinary Legislative Procedure
- Formerly known as co-decision brought in by TEU
- Co-decision was at first only used for a small number of policy areas
- Gradually its use was increased by the Treaties, e.g. Amsterdam and Nice
- Now contained in Article 294 TFEU
- As a result of the Treaty of Lisbon, which made it the default legislative procedure, there is a greater use of the ordinary legislative procedure
- Gives more power to Parliament, the only democratically elected part of the EU
- Commission presents proposal to Parliament and the Council.
- Parliament adopts its position and submits it to the Council.
- If the Council agrees, the text is adopted.
- If the Council does not agree, it draws up its position.
- Parliament has 3 months to react.
- Approval means the text is adopted.
- If Parliament makes amendments the Council then has 3 months to approve in which case the text is adopted.
- If Council rejects the amendments a Conciliation Committee (made up of 27 members of Parliament and 27 members of the Council) seek to reconcile the positions.
- Alternatively, Parliament may reject the Council's position by an absolute majority, which would mean the legislative text is rejected.
Conciliation and 3rd Reading
- After an agreement has been reached, the Conciliation Committee adopts a joint text based on both the Councils and Parliaments 2nd reading amendments.
- If the Council and Parliament approve the joint text in its entirety the act is adopted.
- If the Conciliation Committee cannot agree on a joint text, or if either do not approve of it, the act is deemed not to have been adopted.
Council has a qualified majority voting system - needs 73.9% or over to adopt. UK has 29 votes of the 345 votes altogether. 255 votes are required to reach the 73.9% threshold. QMV is weighted voting, according to the size of population in a country, designed to make the legislative process more democratic. They used to need unanimous votes to pass most kinds of law but the Treaties have gradually reduced this. QMV is now the default unless the Treaty says otherwise. This prevents undemocratic "blocking" of legislation by single countries.
Parliament, which has 754 members, has a simple majority voting system - it needs 50% plus one in order to adopt legislation.
Special Legislative Procedure
- Formerly know as consultation
- Used to be the main procedure
- Contained in Article 289
- Now used for a few key policy areas e.g. internal market exemptions and competition law
Council is the sole legislator - Parliament is consulted but the Council is not obliged to incorporate their opinion.
Council adopts the legislation using qualified majority voting - although occasionally it may be required that the vote is unanimous.