Select Committee on European Union Fiftieth Report


EU Legislative Process up to June 2004

On 1 May 2004 the accession countries will formally join the European Union. European parliamentary elections for the period up to 2009 will take place on 10 June 2004. Finally, a new Commission will take office on 1 November 2004.

These changes affect the EU legislative process in a number of ways. Any proposal subject to the co-decision procedure will be severely delayed by the 2004 European Parliament election. Because of the accession of ten new Member States to the Union on 1 May 2004, it is expected that most of the May European parliamentary session will be taken up with ceremonial matters. This means that the last session at which a vote can be taken on first or second reading of legislative proposals subject to the co-decision procedure will be in April 2004. July will be taken up with internal European Parliament elections and parliamentary work will not properly resume before the September 2004 session.

Parliament hopes to leave as many proposals as possible with a decided first or second reading at the end of its session. There is no formal deadline for the Commission to propose a new piece of legislation, but any proposal put forward after November 2003 is unlikely to reach the end of parliamentary first reading by April 2004. The Commission is expected to act in accordance with this.

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