Sunday, 12 April 2009

EU: Special legislative procedure (I)

We have seen numerous examples of the European Council and the Council subject to the unanimity rule, within the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), the common security and defence policy (CSDP), institutional reform and other issues.

In the area of legislation, far from all issues are decided by the ordinary legislative procedure (codecision) even if the Treaty of Lisbon enters into force. Unanimous decisions are required in many instances.

According to the Lisbon Treaty, the intergovernmental Council of the European Union acts according to a special legislative procedure in cases where the directly elected European is less than an equal co-legislator.


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Consolidated Lisbon Treaty

Here are examples of a special legislative procedure according to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Our source is the consolidated version of the Lisbon Treaty published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) 9.5.2008 C 115.


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Combating discrimination

Unanimity and a special legislative procedure for Council legislation:


Article 19(1) TFEU
(ex Article 13 TEC)

1. Without prejudice to the other provisions of the Treaties and within the limits of the powers conferred by them upon the Union, the Council, acting unanimously in accordance with a special legislative procedure and after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, may take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.


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Free movement of persons

Article 21 TFEU concerns the free movement of persons and necessary legislation. The third paragraph requires unanimity and lays down a special legislative procedure, when the Council adopts measures concerning social security or social protection:


Article 21(3) TFEU

3. For the same purposes as those referred to in paragraph 1 and if the Treaties have not provided the necessary powers, the Council, acting in accordance with a special legislative procedure, may adopt measures concerning social security or social protection. The Council shall act unanimously after consulting the European Parliament.


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Municipal elections

Unanimity and a special legislative procedure apply to the detailed arrangements for EU citizens voting or standing as candidates in municipal elections in their state of residence, where they are not nationals:


Article 22(1) TFEU
(ex Article 19 TEC)

1. Every citizen of the Union residing in a Member State of which he is not a national shall have the right to vote and to stand as a candidate at municipal elections in the Member State in which he resides, under the same conditions as nationals of that State. This right shall be exercised subject to detailed arrangements adopted by the Council, acting unanimously in accordance with a special legislative procedure and after consulting the European Parliament; these arrangements may provide for derogations where warranted by problems specific to a Member State.


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European elections

Corresponding provisions apply to the European elections:


Article 22(2) TFEU

2. Without prejudice to Article 223(1) and to the provisions adopted for its implementation, every citizen of the Union residing in a Member State of which he is not a national shall have the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament in the Member State in which he resides, under the same conditions as nationals of that State. This right shall be exercised subject to detailed arrangements adopted by the Council, acting unanimously in accordance with a special legislative procedure and after consulting the European Parliament; these arrangements may provide for derogations where warranted by problems specific to a Member State.


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We have split the examples of the Council acting according to a special legislative procedure into a number of posts.



Ralf Grahn