Thursday, 31 December 2009

History of EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive (Following a legislative procedure)

Believe it or not; it is just like Dinner for One.

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS Directive) 2007/65 covers audiovisual services (including on-demand services) in the digital age. The AVMS Directive renamed and amended the Television without Frontiers Directive (TVWF Directive) 89/552, as amended by Directive 97/36.

Legislative history

Using Simple search on Eur-Lex, we find the AVMS Directive by year 2007 and number 65, which leads to a page with the name and publication of the Directive. Clicking on Bibliographic notice, we arrive at a page, which offers us the Procedure number COD(2005)0260 as well as a direct link to the European Parliament’s Legislative Observatory Oeil.

The Oeil page on the co-decision procedure COD(2005)0260 offers us enough material to keep us going for quite a while. In fact, all the official stages of the legislative process are there.

In addition, the page contains a summary of the Directive, with enough information to satisfy a casual observer, as well as links to summaries of all the previous stages. Further, the Oeil page offers a link to a Factsheet (FII/2005/0260), which summarises the Commission’s impact assessment.

However, let us not be content with this, but act as if we were doing serious research. Our natural starting point is the Commission’s original proposal (and even Green Papers etc. leading up to it).

Commission proposal COM(2005)0646

The Oeil page offers a link to the Commission’s original proposal, which leads to an Eur-Lex web page with access to all the available language versions and document formats of COM(2005) 646 final (as well as mentioning the accompanying documents).

Having chosen the English pdf version, we arrive at our goal, which after a bit of reordering looks like this:

Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL AMENDING COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities (presented by the Commission); Brussels, 13.12.2005 COM(2005) 646 final (29 pages)

As we see, the front page contains other useful information (although we already know it): the procedure number 2005/0260 (COD) as well as references to the accompanying documents SEC(2005) 1625 and SEC(2005) 1626 (which can be accessed either through the Oeil page, or on Eur-Lex, Preparatory acts, choosing SEC documents).

Legislative Observatory Oeil

In a corresponding manner, the procedure number COD/2005/0260 is the key, and the web page of the European Parliament’s Legislative Observatory Oeil offer is the “control room” for every step of the law-making process, although I leave it to you to follow the steps.

It is like Dinner for One, by Laurie Wylie: The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?

The same procedure as every year, James!

The moral of the story is that legislative procedures in the European Union are not totally impenetrable. The same keys to the control room exist for other legal acts. It requires a certain amount of dedication to follow the process, but it is doable.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read the defence oriented Bruxelles2 blog, by Nicolas Grosverheyde, and other great euroblogs listed on multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs.