co-decision (now called ordinary legislative procedure)European UnionThe co-decision procedure was introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht. It gives the European Parliament (EP) the power to adopt instruments jointly with the Council of the European Union. The procedure comprises one, two or three readings. It has the effect of increasing contacts between the EP and the Council (the co-legislators) and with the European Commission. In practice, it has strengthened the EP's legislative powers in the following fields: free movement of workers, right of establishment, services, the internal market, education (incentive measures), health (incentive measures), consumer policy, trans-European networks (guidelines), environment (general action programme), culture (incentive measures) and research (framework programme).The Treaty of Amsterdam simplified the co-decision procedure, making it quicker and more effective and strengthening the role of the EP. In addition, it was extended to new areas such as social exclusion, public health and the fight against fraud affecting the EU's financial interests.The Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) launched in February 2000 called for an extension of the scope of co-decision, in parallel with, and as a supplement to, the extension of qualified majority voting in the Council. Seven provisions for which the IGC planned to apply qualified majority voting are thus also subject to co-decision. They are: incentives to combat discrimination, judicial co-operation in civil matters, specific industrial support measures, economic and social cohesion actions (outside the Structural Funds), the statute for European political parties and measures relating to visas, asylum and immigration.The Lisbon Treaty extended the co-decision procedure (renamed the ordinary legislative procedure) to several new fields (agriculture, fisheries, transport, structural funds, justice and home affairs). This means that the EP now has the same degree of law-making power as the Council in some areas where it used to be merely consulted or not involved at all. These areas include legal immigration, penal judicial co-operation (Eurojust, crime prevention, alignment of prison standards, offences and penalties), police co-operation (Europol) and some aspects of trade policy and agriculture. The EP now has a role to play in almost all law-making. In practice, any legislative instrument adopted by qualified majority voting is now likely to fall within the scope of the co-decision procedure. For some provisions of the Treaty, however, co-decision and unanimity still co-exist.For more detailed information, see PLC EU, EU Toolkit: EU legislative procedures.European Union
Practical Law Dictionary. Glossary of UK, US and international legal terms. www.practicallaw.com. 2010.