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Early days : the European parliament, codecision and the European union legislative process post-Maastricht

Earnshaw, D. and Judge, David (1995) Early days : the European parliament, codecision and the European union legislative process post-Maastricht. Journal of European Public Policy, 2 (4). pp. 624-649. ISSN 1350-1763

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Since the European Parliament's first vote on a Council common position submitted under the co-decision procedure in January 1994 the practice of co-decision has been scrutinized carefully within Parliament and the other European Union (EU) institutions. However, such scrutiny has produced differing interpretations. This article seeks to assess these respective claims by analysing the first thirty-two legislative proposals processed under co-decision, and so to make an initial assessment of the legislative impact of the European Parliament under the new procedure. Under co-decision Parliament is a more equal partner in the EU's legislative process, and now has a rightful place alongside Council in several important policy areas - despite the weighting of the procedure towards Council. Certainly, informal inter-institutional linkages have expanded as a result of co-decision and, whatever their qualitative effect, there has been an undeniable quantitative increase in the interactions between Parliament and Council. The net result of the dialogue between Parliament and Council is the confirmation of an increasingly bipartite bargaining process and this, in turn, has placed the Commission in a considerably more ambiguous, and weaker, position than in the co-operation or consultation procedures.