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Decision-making

The EU's standard decision-making procedure is known as 'codecision'. This means the European Parliament has to approve EU legislation together with the Council based on a proposal from the Commission.

EU decision-making involves three main institutions:

In principle, the European Commission proposes new laws, but it is the Council together with the Parliament that adopts them.  This is the EU's standard decision-making procedure (known as the "ordinary legislative procedure" or "codecision").

Special legislative procedures also exist where in certain cases legal acts may be adopted by the Council alone (after consulting the Parliament) or, more rarely, by the European Parliament alone (after consulting the Council).

The Council and the Parliament can give the Commission the power to adopt non-legislative acts.

  • For instance, the Commission may need to bring non-essential elements of a law up to date with scientific progress or market developments.  These 'delegated acts' are scrutinised by the European Parliament and the Council.
  • When the Commission adopts measures to ensure EU acts are implemented in a uniform way throughout the EU, these are implementing acts. Implementing acts are scrutinised by EU governments through the system known as comitology.

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