Before the Commission proposes a new policy or law, it:
- describes the initiative in a roadmap or inception impact assessment
- examines the potential economic, social and environmental consequences in an impact assessment
- requests input from the public and stakeholders, for example via public consultations
Citizens can suggest new EU policies or laws through the European citizens' initiative.
Once the draft text is finalised, having taken into consideration all of the input received on the initiative, it is submitted for inter-service consultation. All relevant departments are consulted.
Depending on its level of political importance, an initiative for a new policy or law is either agreed on by the Commission during the Commissioners' weekly meetings, using the oral procedure, or by written procedure.
Oral procedure involves a debate and agreement on the initiative by the Commissioners.
Alternatively, the Commissioners can give their consent to a new initiative in writing, using the written procedure. This can only be sought after the agreement of the legal department and any departments consulted during the planning and proposing stage.
The finalised initiative
Depending on the nature of the act finalised by the Commission, the text of the initiative can be sent to the European Parliament and Council, as well as to those it is intended for, such as the EU member countries. It may also be published in the Official Journal of the EU.
Find out more about the Commission's rules of procedure
When legislative action is needed
If the Commission decides that legislative action is needed, the initiative will pass through a number of stages before it officially becomes an EU law. Most EU laws are adopted by what is known as the ordinary legislative procedure, which involves the European Parliament and Council as co-legislators.
Commission monitors and enforces
The Commission monitors whether member countries apply EU law properly (including transposing it into national law) and can start an infringement procedure if they do not. Companies must respect EU competition laws, and if they break them – by forming cartels for example – the Commission can investigate and impose fines.
Submit a complaint
If you think an EU country or company is not correctly applying EU law, you can submit a complaint.
Commission evaluates and improves
The Commission continuously evaluates so as to improve policies and laws, so that they achieve their objectives in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Planning of evaluations
Forthcoming evaluations are communicated to the public via evaluation roadmaps.