Puzzle over co-decision

It is far from clear how agricultural issues will be dealt with under co-decision once the reform treaty is enacted. Under current rules, most CAP dossiers are decided under the ‘consultation’ procedure, where the Council must wait for an EP opinion, but has no obligation to incorporate EP amendments into the final text.

The reform treaty retains the text of the consitutional treaty which made a distinction between ‘bigger’ political issues, but consultation would remain for so-called ‘technical’ dossiers such as those ‘relating to prices, customs duties, quotas and direct aids.’ In practice, some of these could be very political. In any case, the distinction is a very fuzzy one and requires clarification if the system is to work.

The EP, although very attuned to issues like the environmental costs of pesticide use, has often not been a strong advocate of reform with its agriculture committee dominated by farm interests.

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1 Reply to “Puzzle over co-decision”

  1. Mariann Fischer Boel set out her position on her blog a few days ago:

    “For me, there is no doubt that the parliament must be given a more central role in the decision-making process on European agricultural policy. Farm policy remains one of the few exceptions to the rule that major EU decisions are taken jointly between the parliament and national ministers sitting in the Council. That’s why I’m delighted that the recent summit agreement on the new Treaty looks set to give these co-decision powers to the assembly.

    “I have always had an excellent relationship with the parliament. We don’t always agree, but I have always appreciated the quality of the input I have received on the major reforms such as wine, sugar and fruit and vegetables. Whatever the difficulty, we have always managed to find our way to a workable solution. Those who ignore or undervalue the parliament do so at their peril. Their views matter and their constituency is huge.

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