The EU in brief:
At the heart of the decision making process are the EU Institutions, such as: the Parliament, the Council and the European Commission.
Sovereignty Delegation (pooling): Member states delegate some of their decision-making powers to the shared institutions they have created, so decisions on specific matters of joint interest can be made democratically at European level.
Created in 1950 built single market of goods and services that spans 27 countries with 500 million citizens free to move and settle where they wish / created single currency (the euro) now a major world currency which makes the single market more efficient.
The EU Treaties:
EU is based on the rule of law = every action is founded on treaties approved voluntarily and democratically by all the EU countries.
Treaties lay down objectives of EU / how decisions are made / relationship btwn EU and member states.
There have been 7 treaties up to today all setting out rules for specific purposes. Some were put in place to improve the decision making process of the EU as it evolved and expended:
In 1993 the treaty on European Union established the EU, and gave the parliament more say in decision-making and added new policy areas of cooperation.
In 2009 the Lisbon treaty simplified working methods and voting rules. Created a president of the European council and introduced new structures with a view to making the EU a stronger actor on the global stage.
The treaty on Stability, Coordination, and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union is an intergovernmental treaty, which was signed by all EU member states (except Czech Republic and UK). It is designed to foster budgetary discipline, strengthen the coordination of economic policies and to improve the governance of the euro area. “Fiscal Compact”.
Who takes the decisions?
European parliament: represents and is elected by EU citizens adopt new laws
European council: heads of state or gvnt of member states defines the general political direction and priorities of the EU but doesn’t exercise legislative functions. + adopt new laws
Council: gvnt member states implement new laws
European commission: interest of EU as whole. proposes new laws + implement new laws
What types of legislation are there?
Legislations: types of legal acts
Regulation = applicable and binding in all member states (national may need to be adjusted)
Directive = specifies a result to be achieved and has to be transposed into national laws the way each member state wants to do it / binds member states to achieve objective.
Decision = is binding states, or people
Recommendations and opinions = no binding force
How is legislation passed?
Every law is based on a legal basis of the legislation (=specific treaty article).
Treaty sets out decision-making process commission proposal successive readings by the council and parliament and the opinions of the advisory bodies.
When unanimity is required? / When qualified majority is sufficient for the council to adopt legislation?
Ordinary Legislative Procedure = parliament and council share legislative power (majority of EU legislation is adopted using this.)
For an ordinary legislation procedure, both the parliament and the council have to agree each other’s position on the proposal from commission.
1. Commission: proposal for action (with views of governments, business, civil society organizations, and individuals)
a. Present proposal to Council and Parliament.
2. Council and Parliament: each read and discuss proposal.
a. If no agreement is reached after the 2nd reading “Conciliation Committee”
b. One committee reached an agreement they send it back to council and parliament for a 3rd reading.
b.i. Parliament = simple majority
b.ii. Council = qualified majority (each member state has a certain amount of votes in line with its size of the