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Meetings Calendar 2006
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Decision-making


Legislating in the first pillar

Legally binding acts are produced through a process involving several institutions and other bodies.

Most legal instruments concerning European Community matters are adopted as follows (Community method):

  • The European Commission exercises its right of initiative and draws up a proposal. The proposal is drafted in the Directorate-General responsible in consultation with the Legal Service and submitted to the meeting of the Commission, which adopts it as a formal proposal.
  • The European Parliament and consultative bodies such as the European Economic and Social Committee, which debate the Commission proposal, give an opinion.

    The European Parliament’s role has been steadily strengthened by successive Treaty revisions. It takes the following forms:
  • The Council of the European Union discusses the text proposed by the Commission, including the opinions of the European Parliament and other bodies consulted. It adopts the act, with or without amendments of its own.

The European Commission adopts various instruments to implement and apply the legal acts of the Council. It is assisted in this by committees, the members of which are designated by the Member States (Comitology procedure).

Legislating in the second and third pillars

The European Council and the Council are the legislative organ in the Common Foreign and Security Policy (second pillar), while the Council is the legislator in police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (third pillar). Legal acts adopted under the second and third pillars differ in form from those of the first pillar (second pillar: common position, joint action/third pillar: framework decision, decision) and legal force.

These legal acts are legally binding on Member States but have to be implemented by them within their respective countries.

 

Date: 29.12.2005