EU legislation

Drawing up of legal provisions by the European Union

Directives and regulations are the primary legal instruments by the European Union. The directives must be brought into force separately in each member state, while the regulations represent binding legislation as such.

The drawing up of legal provisions within the EU involves the Commission, Parliament and Council. The Council assembles in several different configurations depending on the issue at hand. The Commission submits proposals for legal provision. It presents a legislative proposal at the same time to the EU Parliament and Council.

The EU Parliament adopts its position on the legal provision and submits it to the Council. If the Council accepts the result of the Parliament's first reading, the proposed legal provision is considered as adopted. If the Council does not accept the Parliament's first reading position, it will draw up its own position. The Parliament has three months to respond. It can accept the Council's position or choose not to express its position. In this case, the proposed legal provision is deemed to have been adopted in accordance with the Council's position.

The Parliament can make amendments to the Council's position with certain restrictions. In this case, the Council has three months to approve the amendments made by the Parliament. Subsequently, the proposed legal provision is deemed to have been adopted, or the Council rejects the amendments; the Conciliation Committee consisting of 27 members of the Parliament and 27 members of the Council is convened to bring together the different positions. The Parliament may also reject the Council's position by an absolute majority. In this case the text of the legislative provision is rejected. In the third reading, if a compromise is found, the Conciliation Committee approves the common text based on the Council's position and on the amendments made during the Parliament's second reading.

If the Council and Parliament accept the common text as a whole, the legal provision is deemed to have been adopted. If the Conciliation Committee fails to prepare a common text or if the Parliament or Council does not accept it, it is deemed that the legal provision has not been adopted.