Jacobs, Francis. (1997) "Legislative co-decision: A real step forward?". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)
Legislative co-decision for the European Parliament in certain areas of EU competence was one of the key changes introduced by the Maastricht Treaty. Further extension of the co-decision procedures to all EU legislature is probably the single most important European Parliament demand for itself at the current Intergovernmental Conference. And yet certain academic commentators have suggested that the co-decision procedure is less satisfactory than it first seems for the European Parliament, and that the latter's power to influence policy making may, in fact, be great under the cooperation procedure than under the co-decision procedure. The paper begins by placing the co-decision procedure in context by means of a survey of the evolution of the European Parliament's legislative powers and of the main features of the consultation, cooperation and co-decision procedures. There then follows an assessment of the co-decision procedure compared to the parallel cooperation and consultation procedures, especially with regard to its impacts on EU legislative efficiency, on the overall functioning of the European Parliament and on the balance between the EU institutions. The paper concludes with a brief look at the European Parliament's calls for extension and simplification of co-decision at the present IGC, and the member states' responses to that request. The paper concludes that it is still hard to measure the longer-term impacts of the procedure but that its unprecedented combination of a veto power and a negotiating mechanism have already had dynamic effects, such as greater professionalization of the European Parliament's work and a reinforcement of its position vis-à-vis the Commission and the Council, that have been underestimated by its critics.
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