Select Committee on European Communities Third Report

APPENDIX 2 (Continued)


The co-decision procedure

......We acknowledge that there will be pressures for an extension of co-decision, and that this makes it important to address the defects in the procedure. As regards these defects, we recommend two changes in Article 189b...... First, that the Council after three months from its communication to the Parliament should be entitled to adopt its common position definitively, unless the Parliament has rejected it or proposed amendments to the substance of the legislation by an absolute majority of component members.[10]...... Secondly, the Conciliation Committee should meet at the level of Ministers on the part of the Council and at a corresponding level of seniority on the part of the Parliament. If a joint text emerges from the Conciliation Committee, a heavy onus should lie on the Council and the Parliament if either wish to reject it. The Council should require a qualified majority to reject and the Parliament an absolute majority of its component members. These changes would make it more difficult for the Parliament to cause legislation to fall without thorough and responsible consideration. (252)


The co-decision procedure

Co-decision (Article 189b) is simplified by:

  -  providing for adoption of a text at first reading phase if the European Parliament does not propose any amendment after first reading or if the Council agrees with all of the European Parliament's first reading amendments;

  -  dropping the phase of intent to reject; the European Parliament could thus go straight to a vote of rejection;

  -  dropping the so-called third reading whereby the Council could seek to impose the common position after a breakdown of conciliation, unless the European Parliament could overrule it by an absolute majority of its members; the new text would provide for the proposal to have failed in the absence of agreement in conciliation;

The new text also tries to provide stricter time limits than at present (once the Council does not approve all of the European Parliament's amendments in second reading a meeting of the Conciliation Committee would have to be convened within six weeks, extendable to eight weeks if necessary). Moreover an accompanying non-binding declaration states that "in no case should the actual period between the second reading by the European Parliament and the outcome of the Conciliation Committee exceed nine months". Finally, the text seeks to prevent too much flexibility in the consideration of European Parliament amendments in conciliation by stating "in fulfilling this task, the Conciliation Committee should address the common position on the basis of the amendments proposed by the European Parliament".

10   As distinct from a majority of members present and voting. Back

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