Photo: European Parliament

The European Union’s main task is to pass new laws. According to the Treaty of Maastricht (1992) and the Treaty Lisbon (1999), laws are made using the codecision procedure. It means that laws are enacted by the joint decision of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

The codecision procedure ensures the Parliament an equal position with the Council. The laws are related, among other things, to the management and administration of finances, immigration, energy, transport, the environment and consumer protection.  In reality, the European Parliament and Council approve most of the EU laws.

Lainsäätämisprosessi Legislative process

The Commission makes a proposal for a new law.

The Commission sends the proposal to the European Parliament and Council.

The European Parliament and the Council decide on new legislation together.

If the Parliament and Council fail to agree after two readings, the proposal is referred to the Conciliation Committee.

Half of the members of the Conciliation Committee come from the Council and half from the Parliament. Commission representatives may take part in the discussions held in the Committee.

When the Committee reaches an understanding, the approved text is sent to the Parliament and Council for a third reading. The Parliament votes on the approval of the legislative text.

Both the Council and the European Parliament must approve the proposal. The Parliament may reject the proposal if the majority votes against it. If the majority votes for the law, it will take effective.