Step 1: Legislative proposal

The procedure is launched when the European Commission submits a legislative proposal to the Council and the European Parliament. At the same time it sends the proposal to national parliaments and, in some cases, the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee for their examination.

Legislative proposals are adopted by the college of the members of the Commission either by written procedure (i.e. the text is not discussed) or by oral procedure (with a discussion). If a vote is requested, the Commission decides by simple majority.

Right of initiative

The Commission is the only EU institution empowered to initiate EU legal acts. It submits proposals for EU legal acts on its own initiative, at the request of other EU institutions or following a citizens' initiative.

The Council (by a simple majority of its members) may request the Commission to carry out studies and submit any appropriate legislative proposals.

The Parliament (by a majority of its component members) may also ask the Commission to submit legislative proposals.

In specific cases, defined in the treaties, the ordinary legislative procedure can be launched:

  • on the initiative of a quarter of the member states (when the proposal concerns judicial cooperation in criminal matters or police cooperation)
  • on a recommendation from the European Central Bank (on proposals concerning the statute of the European system of central banks and of the European Central Bank)
  • at the request of the Court of Justice of the EU (on matters relating to the statute of the Court, establishment of specialised courts attached to the General Court, etc.)
  • at the request of the European Investment Bank