Tuesday, 9 June 2009

European Union: Coordination of social security systems (institutional triangle)

This is an axample of the so called co-decision procedure, according to Article 251 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC), when the European Parliament has proposed amendments to the common position of the Council of the European Union.

The EP amendments require an absolute majority of the component members (one of the reasons why the European Parliament needs to find consensus solutions rather than seek headline-grabbing confrontation internally). The Commission has to deliver an opinion on the amendments.

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Social security systems

The Commission has now published two opinions:


OPINION OF THE COMMISSION pursuant to Article 251 (2), third subparagraph, point (c) of the EC Treaty, on the European Parliament's amendments to the Council's common position regarding the proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems AMENDING THE PROPOSAL OF THE COMMISSION pursuant to Article 250 (2) of the EC Treaty; Brussels, 5.6.2009 COM(2009) 264 final (available in all the official EU languages).



Procedure number: 2006/0006 (COD)


The complex structure of the European Union extends the consensus approach beyond the walls of the European Parliament, as you can see from the following excerpts. According to Article 250(2) TEC, as long as the Council has not acted, the Commission may alter its proposal at any time:


“The Commission accepts all 8 amendments adopted by Parliament. The 8 amendments were agreed following informal contacts between Parliament and Council with a view to a second reading agreement. The amendments are of a technical nature, aiming in particular to ensure that the persons concerned receive a timely answer to their requests from the competent institution and appropriate information, including guidance on administrative procedures.”


“5. CONCLUSION

Pursuant to Article 250(2) of the EC Treaty, the Commission amends its proposal as set out
above.”


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The related second matter is:

OPINION OF THE COMMISSION pursuant to Article 251 (2), third subparagraph, point (c) of the EC Treaty, on the European Parliament's amendments to the Council's common position regarding the proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems, and determining the contents of its annexes AMENDING THE PROPOSAL OF THE COMMISSION pursuant to Article 250 (2) of the EC Treaty; Brussels, 5.6.2009 COM(2009) 265 final (available in English, French and German).




Procedure number: 2006/0008 (COD)


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These are examples of the “institutional triangle” – Commission, Council, European Parliament – in action, following the steps of a choreography called the institutional balance.

Naturally, some readers may be interested in the subject matter – the coordination of social security systems – but having led you to the water, I leave you to drink.


Ralf Grahn