Many of the legal acts that are adopted in the European Union are of a general nature. The practical details of these legal acts are dealt with through secondary legislation. Secondary legislation cannot exceed the framework established in the general act. However, specific measures can still yield significant effect. The procedure for adopting secondary legislation depends on which of three procedures is used.
In each of the three procedures the Commission plays a key role. The European Parliament and the Council of Ministers mostly determine the framework in which the Commission, together with experts from the member-states, can formulate and/or adopt proposals. When adopting secondary legislation, unlike with primary legislation, it is not necessary to inform national parliaments. As a result, national parliaments cannot scrutinise proposals on the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
In very specific cases implementation of secondary legislation can be decided in conjunction with social partners. The procedure used is known as the social protocol i.