The presentation of the Treaties of the European Union continues with several episodes related to the way in which the legislation is adopted at European level. I will begin today with Article 294 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which sets out the ordinary legislative procedure for the adoption of European legislation.
Thus, the Union’s legislative acts can in principle be adopted only on a proposal from the Commission and, unlike the Romanian legal system, the European Parliament has the role of co-legislator with the Council. These two institutions have the power to adopt and amend legislative proposals and to adopt the Union’s budget.
In most cases, the European Parliament and the Council jointly adopt a regulation, directive or decision, which is called the ordinary legislative procedure.
At first glance, it seems simple, but in reality it is a real ping-pong match between the European institutions, which changes the initial proposed text and gives it from one to the other until agreement is reached. All of this happens in the so-called first, second and third readings.
So, the procedure for adopting legislation at European level is very cumbersome, takes a long time, and it often comes to the adoption of a text that has nothing to do with the initial proposal.
According to statistics made by the European Parliament, the average duration of the first reading legislative procedure is 16 months, to which an average of 36 months can be added for second reading in the Parliament and another 39 months for second reading in the Council. So we can have up to 7 years of negotiations from the moment the Commission proposes a legislative text until it is adopted. If we look at statistics, in 2016, 48 legislative acts were adopted in first reading and 69 in Parliament’s second reading.
The legislative procedure is also hampered by the pressure that various interest groups exert: from the influence of the lobby in the Commission’s decision to make a legislative proposal and during the passage of the text from Parliament to the Council, to the interests of the political groups in the Parliament. We can add to these the national interests of the Member States, which, for example, in cases where the Commission is seeking uniformity of legislation, are unwilling to give up national sovereignty in favor of the Union. This is the case with the Public European Prosecutor’s Office that we were talking about last time.