Decision-making in the EU

Under Article 43 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Council, on a proposal from the Commission, decides on the rules of the common agricultural policy (CAP) jointly with the European Parliament in accordance with the codecision procedure.

The codecision procedure has been applied in the CAP decision-making process since the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force in December 2009. However, the Council does not have to hear the European Parliament on measures on fixing prices, levies, aid and quantitative limitations and on the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities. The Council makes these decisions alone, based on the Commission’s proposal.

In the new system, the line between the competences of the European Parliament and the Council is somewhat blurred. It is likely to become more clearly established through practical legislative work.

In the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, Member States are represented by the ministers of agriculture and fisheries.

Distribution of powers between EU institutions

The Commission has the exclusive right of initiative to bring forward proposals for new EU legislation or amending existing legislation. The Commission’s proposals are sent simultaneously to the European Parliament and the Council.

In the Council, the most important matters are usually presented first to the Agriculture Council. After that they are examined at the technical level in expert working parties. After the examination in working parties, the Member States and the Commission discuss the contents of the legislation in the Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA).

As a preparatory body, the SCA is similar to Coreper, but it only discusses matters concerning the common agricultural policy and rural development. The purpose of SCA discussions is to resolve as many differences as possible so that the Council would only have to settle matters with political importance.

In the ordinary legislative procedure (= codesicion), the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers jointly adopt the Commission’ legislative proposals. However, all laws require the final approval of the European Parliament before entering into force.

Further information

Kari Valonen, maatalousneuvos 
MMM, Ruokaosasto, EU-koordinaatio ja kansainväliset asiat 0295162269