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Executive And Legislative Relationship In The European Union

2234 words - 9 pages

Making incredible strides toward progress and development, the European Union has evolved and has advanced significantly since the European Coal and Steel Community. The legislature of the EU is composed of both the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, each working together while at the same time maintaining their specific arenas. Executive in the European Union refers to the European Commission. The legislative and executive branches of the European Union offer unique characteristics that differ from the traditional tasks, powers, and duties of an executive or legislative branch.Historically, legislative and executive branches of government have varied from those ...view middle of the document...

However, when the situation arises where an executive must be removed, in the United States a President can be put up for impeachment where it is the ultimate decision of the Supreme Court to dictate their removal from office. This process is shorter in the European Union, where at any given time the European Parliament has the power to coerce the resignation of the entire Commission, through a vote of two-thirds of voters and a majority of total Parliament membership. Historically, this has never occurred, however the Parliament in 1999 did threaten the Santer Commission (led by Jacques Santer) with use of its power. This commission would go on to resign on its own (Hooghe 6).It is feasible to say that in comparison with the democracy of the United States and elsewhere, the roles are switched – it is the legislature which should draft legislation, and the executive that has the option to pass or veto bills. In the first pillar, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, while not having the power of initiative, may request that the Commission consider particular matters in their legislation. This process is reversed elsewhere. Therefore the relationship between these two in the European Union does not allow for a clear legislative and executive branch.Historically, through a series of treaties and reforms, the procedures utilized in government between the executive and legislative have changed. Four different procedures exist or have existed which determine the interaction of institutions – assent, consultation, cooperation, and co decision. The assent procedure requires the Council of the European Union to seek the concurrence of European Parliament prior to decision making. A majority of those voting must agree in order to gain acceptance, and no amendments are permitted: it is a simple yes or no. Assent procedure was initiated by the Single European Act which went into effect in 1987. The accession of more countries into the EU and uniform EP electoral procedure are among the decisions requiring assent procedure. Common agricultural policy decisions are carried through consultation procedure, where both the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union receive a proposal from the Commission, with the Council being the one who confers with the EP and other institutions. The decision of Parliament does not fasten that of the Council; however the EP must be consulted at the least, where its only option is to put off adoption, lacking the ability to change specific texts or turn down the proposal overall. Should the Council determine an amendment necessary, a unanimous decision is required. Also originating from the Single European Act was cooperation procedure, which “gave the European Parliament greater influence in the legislative process by allowing it two ‘readings’. Initially, the scope of this procedure was considerably extended by the Treaty of Maastricht; the Treaty of Amsterdam...

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