To avoid making EU legislation over-complicated and technical, the Lisbon Treaty introduced a new system to delegate some limited powers to the European Commission. On Tuesday, Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee unanimously agreed its position on how this delegation of powers should be carried out, the conditions and the limits, and ways to supervise the Commission's use of those powers.
The perennial need for the EU's legislators (Parliament and the Council) to delegate some legislative power, as happens in many national lawmaking systems, was previously met through the "comitology" procedure, which was abolished by the Lisbon Treaty.
Democratic scrutiny, even over delegated legislation
Delegated acts will have important implications in many areas and the EP should be on an equal footing with the Council with respect to all aspects of the power of legislative delegation, argues the committee's report, drawn up by József Szájer (EPP, HU).
This new system can be seen as a tool for better law-making, the aim of which is to ensure that legislation can remain simple and be completed and updated without needing to resort to repeated adoption of legislation, whilst also allowing the legislator to maintain its ultimate power and responsibility, says the rapporteur.
According to the treaty, the delegation of power to the Commission should be subject to limits and conditions as well as control mechanisms. MEPs add that the goals, content, scope and duration of each case of delegation must be “expressly and meticulously” defined in each act (regulation, directive or decision).
The ways to control the use of delegated powers by the Commission, the EP's right of objection and revocation, the duration and renewal of a delegation and a need for a Common Understanding between the institutions on certain practical arrangements are some of the issues dealt with in the Legal Affairs Committee report. More detail will be given in a Question & Answer note to be published soon on the EP press service webpage.
Committee on Legal Affairs
In the chair: Klaus-Heiner Lehne (EPP, DE)
Procedure: own-initiative report
Rapporteur: József Szájer (EPP, HU)
Vote in committee: 23/03/2010
Vote in plenary: April
Further information :