Tag Archives: Regulation

Regulations

Regulations

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Regulations

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Institutional affairs > The decision-making process and the work of the institutions

Regulations

Regulations are items of unilateral secondary legislation, i.e. they are adopted solely by the European Union authority. They are referred to in Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which stipulates that “a regulation shall have general application. It shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.”

A regulation has general application

It is addressed to abstract categories of persons, not to identified persons. This is what distinguishes it from the decision, defined in Article 288 of the TFEU.

The Court of Justice has indicated that regulations are aimed at general categories of persons but may nevertheless be limited to certain categories of persons. A regulation is still a regulation even when, at the time of the publication of the act, it is possible to determine the number, or even the identity of the persons to whom it applies.

A regulation is binding in its entirety

It is binding in its entirety and so may not be applied incompletely, selectively or partially. It is a legal act binding upon:

  • the institutions;
  • the Member States;
  • the individuals to whom it is addressed.

A Regulation is directly applicable in all the Member States

This means that:

  • no measures to incorporate it in national law are required;
  • it attributes rights and obligations independently of any national implementing measures. This does not mean that the Member States cannot take implementing measures. They must do so if necessary, in the context of complying with the principle of sincere cooperation, as defined in Article 4 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU);
  • it may be used as a reference by individuals in their relations with other individuals, with Member States or with the European authorities.

Regulations apply in all the Member States from the day of their entry into force, i.e. 20 days after their publication in the Official Journal. Their legal effects are simultaneously, automatically and uniformly binding in all the national legislations.

Implementing regulations

The European authorities may also adopt implementing measures: implementing regulations. This type of regulation is defined in Articles 164 and 178 of the TFEU, regarding the implementing regulations of the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Funds.

The validity of implementing regulations as legal acts depends on the “basic regulations”. The latter lay down the fundamental rules, while the implementing regulations set out the technical provisions.

Unilateral acts

Unilateral acts

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Unilateral acts

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Institutional affairs > The decision-making process and the work of the institutions

Unilateral acts

Through unilateral acts, individual rights are conferred by the institutions acting in an entirely autonomous manner. They are adopted by the institutions in accordance with the founding Treaties of the European Union (EU). Along with conventions and agreements, they constitute the secondary legislation of the (EU).

Nomenclature of unilateral acts

The unilateral acts described in the nomenclature of Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU are:

  • regulations;
  • directives;
  • decisions;
  • opinions and recommendations.

Moreover, Article 289 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU establishes a distinction between legislative acts, namely those adopted following a legislative procedure, and acts which are, by default, non-legislative. Generally, the aim of non-legislative acts is to implement legislative acts or certain specific provisions from the Treaties. For example, they relate to the internal regulations of institutions, certain Council decisions, measures adopted by the Commission in the field of competition, etc.

Certain atypical acts can also be classified as unilateral acts. Such acts are considered “atypical” in so far as they do not appear in the Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU. They are provided for by other provisions in the Treaties or have already been created through institutional practice. These acts are frequently used by institutions. For example, they relate to resolutions, conclusions, communications, etc. These acts have a political application, but they are not generally legally binding.

Unilateral acts, instruments at the service of European policies

The European authorities are free to choose the act that they deem most appropriate for implementing their policy. For example, where policies are designed to have an incentive effect, the Council or the Commission may opt for a recommendation.

Under the terms of the principle of conferral, acts must have a legal basis in the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU corresponding to the field in which the European authorities wish to take action. For want of a precise legal basis, they may have recourse to the flexibility clause (Article 352 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU), which concerns the EU’s subsidiary powers.

Moreover, the unilateral acts adopted by the European institutions are subject to review by the Court of Justice of the EU.

Legal status of unilateral acts

As to form, acts are required to cite the instruments conferring the power to adopt them (in citations beginning with “having regard to”) and to state the reasons on which they are based (in recitals beginning with “whereas”).

Acts must be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Parties to whom an act is addressed may also be informed, as is the case with decisions.

As a rule, acts enter into force on the day they are notified or published in the Official Journal. Exceptionally, they may enter into force on the 20th day following that of their publication. They may also provide for implementation on a date later than that of their entry into force.

Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament

Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament

Document or Iniciative

Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament (EP).

Summary

The Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament (EP) establish the internal organisation and functioning of the institution. Article 232 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU gives Parliament the power to adopt its own Rules of Procedure.

COMPOSITION OF PARLIAMENT

Members

The Members of the EP exercise their mandate independently, subject to the rules concerning incompatibility laid down in the Act of 20th September 1976 (amended by Decision 2002/772/EC). They enjoy privileges and immunities in accordance with the Protocol 7 on the privileges and immunities of the EU.

The President, the 14 Vice-Presidents and the 5 Quaestors are elected by their peers by secret ballot. Their nominations must have the support of a political group or at least 40 Members. Their term of office is two and a half years.

The President:

  • directs all the activities of and represents Parliament;
  • opens, suspends and closes sittings;
  • directs parliamentary debates;
  • rules on the admissibility of amendments in plenary session, on questions to the Council and Commission, and on the conformity of Parliament’s reports with its Rules of Procedure;
  • refers to committees any communications that concern them.

The Vice-Presidents may replace the President as provided for in the Rules of Procedure, for example if the President wishes to take part in a debate. The Quaestors are also responsible for administrative and financial matters.

Governing bodies

Parliament has several governing bodies, the most important of which are:

  • the Bureau: consisting of the President, the 14 Vice-Presidents and the Quaestors (who serve in an advisory capacity), it takes financial, organisational and administrative decisions on matters concerning Parliament;
  • the Conference of Presidents: it consists of the President, the chairmen of the political groups and a non-attached Member who participates in the Conference without a right to vote. The Conference takes decisions on the organisation of Parliament’s work and matters relating to legislative planning, draws up the agendas for Parliament’s part-sessions, determines the composition and areas of competence of committees, and authorises the drawing up of own-initiative reports. It is also responsible for relations with the other institutions and bodies of the European Union as well as with certain non-member countries and non-Union institutions and organisations.

There are also two other Conferences, the Conference of Committee Chairmen and the Conference of Delegation Chairmen. Both may make recommendations to the Conference of Presidents.

Groups and political parties

The political groups are formed on the basis of political affinities and consist of a minimum of 25 Members elected in at least one quarter of the Member States. The political groups and Members who have not joined a group are provided with a secretariat, administrative facilities and the appropriations entered for the purpose in Parliament’s budget.

The Statute of the European political parties was approved in 2004. Parliament’s Rules of Procedure merely set out the powers and responsibilities of its governing bodies in relation to them. The President represents Parliament in its relations with these parties and the Bureau decides on requests for financing.

ORGANISATION

Parliamentary committees

The organisation and operation of Parliament is the responsibility of the parliamentary committees. There are three types of parliamentary committee:

  • standing committees: These committees are at the heart of Parliament’s legislative work (Annex VII to the Rules of Procedure). The standing committees examine the matters referred to them according to their powers and responsibilities. Should it fall within more than one area, the matter may be referred to a maximum of three committees;
  • special committees: Their powers, composition and term of office are defined when they are set up. Their mandate cannot exceed twelve months;
  • committees of inquiry: These are ad hoc committees set up by Parliament at the request of one quarter of its Members to investigate contraventions or maladministration in the implementation of European law.

The standing and special committees are set up on a proposal of the Conference of Presidents. Their permanent and substitute members are elected after nominations have been submitted by the political groups and the non-attached Members. The composition of these committees should correspond as far as possible to that of Parliament as a whole.

Interparliamentary delegations

There are also standing interparliamentary delegations, set up on a proposal from the Conference of Presidents, which decides on their nature and the number of their members. Parliament can also set up joint parliamentary committees with the parliaments of States associated with the Union or States with which accession negotiations have been initiated..

Sessions of Parliament

Each year of the term corresponds to one session divided into 12 part-sessions (monthly plenaries). The monthly part-session is subdivided into daily sittings.

Parliament’s seat is in Strasbourg, where it holds 12 monthly part-sessions. Additional part-sessions and committee meetings are held in Brussels.

Members have the right to speak in the official language of their choice. Leave to speak and speaking time are carefully regulated.

A draft agenda is drawn up by the Conference of Presidents. The final agenda is then adopted at the start of each session. Moreover, the points listed in the agenda may be the subject of a debate, proposals for amendments or the subject of a single vote without debate.

LEGISLATIVE, BUDGETARY AND OTHER PROCEDURES

Parliament cooperates with the Commission and the Council in drawing up the European Union’s legislative programme (see Annex XIV). Once the Commission has submitted a proposal, the legislative procedure in Parliament starts with an in-depth examination of respect for fundamental rights, the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, and an estimate of the financial resources needed.

In the case of legislative reports, the President of Parliament sends the Commission proposals, consultations, requests by the Council or from the Commission for an opinion, and the Council common positions to the parliamentary committee, which first examines the legal basis. The committee then appoints a rapporteur whose report will comprise draft amendments, if any, a draft legislative resolution and, if appropriate, an explanatory statement. The committee chairman may also propose that the proposal be approved without amendment following a first discussion, unless at least one tenth of the committee members object.

A rapporteur is also appointed in the case of non-legislative reports, such as own-initiative reports or opinions. He must present a report comprising a motion for a resolution, an explanatory statement including a financial statement, and the texts of any motions for resolutions to be tabled in plenary.

Own-initiative reports, sent to the Commission so that it can present a proposal for legislation, must first be authorised by the Conference of Presidents. The Conference has two months to take a decision. If authorisation is withheld, the reason must be stated.

Legislative procedures

All legislative proposals from the Commission are sent to the competent parliamentary committee which draws up a report. On the basis of this report, the Parliament may adopt the text, propose amendments or reject the proposal.

In the ordinary legislative procedure, the Parliament is co-legislator with the Council of the EU. The two institutions adopt legislative acts either at first reading or at second reading. If, at the end of the second reading, the two institutions have still not reached agreement, a conciliation committee is convened.

Furthermore, there are special legislative procedures within which the Council of the EU is the sole legislator and the Parliament is only associated with the procedure. The role of the Parliament is therefore limited to consultation on, and approval of, the legislative proposal.

Quorum and voting

A quorum exists when one third of the Members are present in the Chamber. Voting is usually by show of hands, but voting by roll call, electronic voting and voting by secret ballot are also possible in some circumstances.

Other procedures

Particularly sensitive areas, such as the budget and foreign relations, are subject to a separate procedure.

Parliament plays a key role with respect to the EU Budget; it is involved in adopting the budget, controls its implementation and grants discharge to the Commission in respect of such implementation.

The EP also plays an important role in concluding international agreements. In particular, it can formulate recommendations and deliver its opinion or approval on the signing of all international agreements.

RELATIONS WITH OTHER INSTITUTIONS AND WITH CITIZENS

Relations with the other European institutions and bodies

Parliament elects the President of the Commission and the College of Commissioners. Once they have been appointed, the Commissioners are asked to present their policy approaches in plenary and to the committees responsible. Parliament may also submit and vote on a motion of censure leading to the resignation of the Commission. A framework agreement on relations with the Commission can be found in Annex XIII.

Parliament also gives its opinion on the appointment of Members of the Court of Auditors and Members of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank.

Parliament may also consult the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of the Regions on matters of a general nature or on specific points. It also has the right to submit requests to European agencies and to make referrals to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

In order to improve or clarify procedures, Parliament may enter into interinstitutional agreements with the other institutions. Parliament has other means of interacting with the institutions. It may for example put questions to the Council or the Commission, which will answer orally during the debate or in writing if so requested by Parliament. It may also submit written questions to the European Central Bank.

Relations with national parliaments

Parliament briefs the national parliaments regularly on its activities. A delegation from the EP meets the national delegations in the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for European Affairs.

Relations with citizens

All citizens or residents of the European Union have the right of access to parliamentary documents, within the limits defined. Committee and plenary debates are public and reports on plenary debates are published in the Official Journal, thereby guaranteeing the transparency of and the public’s right to information on Parliament’s proceedings.

All citizens or residents of the European Union also have the right to address petitions to Parliament on matters coming within the European Union’s fields of activity and directly affecting them. Petitions are examined by the committee responsible, which may decide to draw up a report or otherwise express an opinion.

European citizens may also address complaints concerning the activities of the European institutions and bodies to the European Ombudsman.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.