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The European Parliament


European Parliament. Copyright: bpa The European Parliament is the only directly elected and thus democratically directly le­gi­ti­mated organ of the European Union. This special status is reflected in the most recent revision of the treaties, which has seen a significant increase in the legislative authority of the Parliament.

The European Parliament shares legislative authority with the Council. It exercises democratic control over all organs of the EU and in particular over the Commission. It shares budgetary authority with the Council and can thus influence the EU's spending policy. In the final instance it accepts or rejects the overall budget.

The role of the European Parliament cannot be compared with that of the German Bundestag or parliament. In contrast to the Bundestag, the members of the European Parliament do not have any formal entitlement to initiate legislation. The European Parliament can, however, with a simply majority, call on the Commission to make suitable proposals for legislation.

There are three different ways of involving the European Parliament:

  1. Hearings procedure:
    Obligatory hearing of the European Parliament, its comments need not however be taken into account.

  2. Cooperation procedure pursuant to Article 252 of the EC Treaty:
    The European Parliament cannot prevent a legislative act being adopted, but it can obstruct the procedure. If the European Parliament rejects the common position of the Council, or if it tables amendments, the legislative act must be unanimously adopted by the Council.

  3. Co-decision procedure pursuant to Article 251 of the EC Treaty:
    Under this article, the European Parliament can block the adoption of a piece of legislation. If the absolute majority of the members of the European Parliament reject the common position of the Council, the draft is deemed not to have been adopted. If the European Parliament tables amendments, which are not accepted by the Council, a conciliation procedure is initiated.

In development cooperation measures the co-decision procedure is always adopted.

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European Parliament

Rue Wiertz / Wiertzstraat 60
B-1047 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 / 2 / 2 84 21 11
Fax: +32 / 2 / 2 84 35 30

Allée du Printemps
Bâtiment Louise Weiss
67070 Strasbourg, France

Phone: +33 / 3 / 88 17 40 01
Fax: +33 / 3 / 88 17 51 84

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