REPORT on changes to be made to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure to bring internal procedures into line with the requirements of simplification of Community legislation

    16.4.2007 - (2005/2238(REG))

    Committee on Constitutional Affairs
    Rapporteur: Marie-Line Reynaud

    Procedure : 2005/2238(REG)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  
    A6-0143/2007
    Texts tabled :
    A6-0143/2007
    Debates :
    Texts adopted :

    PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

    on changes to be made to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure to bring internal procedures into line with the requirements of simplification of Community legislation

    (2005/2238(REG))

    The European Parliament,

    –   having regard to the proposal for amendment of its Rules of Procedure B6‑0582/2005,

    –   having regard to the Communication of the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Implementing the Community Lisbon programme: A strategy for the simplification of the regulatory environment’ (COM(2005) 0535),

    –   having regard to the conclusions of the European Council of 15 and 16 June 2006, particularly paragraph 41 thereof,

    –   having regard to its resolution of 16 May 2006 on a strategy for the simplification of the regulatory environment,[1]

    –   having regard to its resolution of 16 May 2006 on the outcome of the screening of legislative proposals pending before the legislator,[2]

    –   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘A strategic review of Better Regulation in the European Union’ (COM(2006)0689),

    –   having regard to Rules 201 and 202 of its Rules of Procedure,

    –   having regard to the report of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A6‑0143/2007),

    A. whereas Parliament undertook, in its abovementioned resolution of 16 May 2006 on a strategy for the simplification of the regulatory environment (paragraph 21), ‘to give thought to the improvement of its procedures and its internal legislative techniques in order to speed up the simplification dossiers, while complying with the procedures laid down in primary law, in this particular case the EC Treaty’,

    B.  whereas codification and recasting techniques are among the most important tools for simplifying Community legislation, which is part of the new Lisbon strategy for growth and employment in Europe,

    C. whereas the Rules of Procedure contain a provision on codification which should be revised, but no provision on recasting,

    D. whereas Parliament wishes, through a re-examination and clarification of its procedures, to make a serious contribution to the simplification efforts and to encourage the Commission to make more proposals in this spirit,

    E.  whereas it would be desirable for the Council to undertake similar steps,

    1.  Decides to amend its Rules of Procedure as shown below;

    2.  Points out that the amendments will enter into force on the first day of the next part‑session;

    3.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and Commission, for information.

    Present textAmendments

    Amendment 1

    Rule 80

    1. When a Commission proposal for official codification of Community legislation is submitted to Parliament, it shall be referred to the committee responsible for legal affairs. Provided that it is ascertained that the proposal does not entail any change of substance to existing Community legislation, the procedure laid down in Rule 43 shall be followed.

    1. When a Commission proposal for codification of Community legislation is submitted to Parliament, it shall be referred to the committee responsible for legal affairs. The latter shall examine it in accordance with the arrangements agreed at interinstitutional level1 in order to ascertain that it is a straightforward codification, with no changes of a substantive nature.

    2. The chairman of the committee responsible or the rapporteur appointed by that committee may participate in the examination and revision of the proposal for codification. If necessary, the committee responsible may give its opinion beforehand.

    2. The committee which was responsible for the acts to be codified may, at its own request or at the request of the committee responsible for legal affairs, be asked to give its opinion on the desirability of codification.

    3. Notwithstanding the provisions of Rule 43(3), the simplified procedure may not be applied to a proposal for official codification where this procedure is opposed by a majority of the members of the committee responsible for legal affairs or of the committee responsible.

    3. Amendments to the text of the proposal shall be inadmissible.

    However, at the rapporteur’s request, the chairman of the committee responsible for legal affairs may submit for the latter’s approval, amendments relating to technical adaptations, provided that those adaptations are necessary in order to ensure that the proposal complies with the codification rules and do not involve any substantive change to the proposal.

     

    4. If the committee responsible for legal affairs concludes that the proposal does not entail any substantive change, it shall refer it to Parliament for approval.

    If the committee takes the view that the proposal entails a substantive change to Community legislation, it shall propose that Parliament reject the proposal.

     

    In either case, Parliament shall take a decision by means of a single vote, without amendments or debate.

     

    ______________________

    Interinstitutional Agreement of 20 December 1994, Accelerated working method for official codification of legislative texts, point 4, OJ C 102, 4.4.1996, p. 2.

    Amendment 2

    Rule 80a (new)

     

    Rule 80a

    Recasting

    1. When a Commission proposal recasting Community legislation is submitted to Parliament, that proposal shall be referred to the committee responsible for legal affairs and the committee responsible.

     

    2. The committee responsible for legal affairs shall examine it in accordance with the arrangements agreed at interinstitutional level1 with a view to ascertaining that it entails no substantive changes other than those identified as such in the proposal.

    For the purpose of that examination, amendments to the text of the proposal shall be inadmissible. However, the second subparagraph of Rule 80(3) shall apply as regards the provisions which remain unchanged in the recasting proposal.

     

    3. If the committee responsible for legal affairs considers that the proposal does not entail any substantive changes other than those identified as such in the proposal, it shall inform the committee responsible.

    In such a case, over and above the conditions laid down in Rules 150 and 151, amendments shall be admissible within the committee responsible only if they concern those parts of the proposal which contain changes.

    However, amendments to the parts which have remained unchanged may be admitted as a special dispensation and on a case‑by‑case basis by the chairman of the above committee if he considers that this is necessary for pressing reasons relating to the internal logic of the text or because the amendments are inextricably linked to other admissible amendments. Such reasons must be stated in a written justification to the amendments.

     

    4. If the committee responsible for legal affairs considers that the proposal entails substantive changes other than those which have been identified as such in the proposal, it shall propose that Parliament reject the proposal and it shall inform the committee responsible that it has done so.

    In such a case the President shall call upon the Commission to withdraw its proposal. If the Commission withdraws its proposal, the President shall record that the procedure is null and void and shall notify the Council of the fact. If the Commission does not withdraw its proposal, Parliament shall refer it to the committee responsible, which shall consider it in accordance with the normal procedure.

     

    __________________________

    1 Interinstitutional Agreement of 28 November 2001 on a more structured use of the recasting technique for legal acts, OJ C 77, 28.3.2002, p. 1.

    EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

    Following a proposal to amend Rule 80 of the Rules of Procedure (Codification), made by Mr Corbett,[3] our committee was authorised to draw up a report on possible changes to the Rules of Procedure to bring internal procedures into line with the requirements of simplification of Community legislation.[4]

    This undertaking is part of Parliament’s response to the Commission’s latest simplification initiative.[5]

    Parliament has undertaken to ‘give thought to the improvement of its procedures and its internal legislative techniques in order to speed up the simplification dossiers, while complying with the procedures laid down in primary law, in this particular case the EC Treaty’.[6]

    It is necessary to amend the provisions of the rules on codification (Rule 80) by instituting a specific procedure which is different from the existing simplified and accelerated procedures, in order both to respond to the needs of codification and to incorporate into the rules various obligations that Parliament has accepted under interinstitutional agreements.

    The technique of recasting must also be introduced into the Rules by providing for another specific procedure based on the ‘codification’ procedure.

    It is a strange thing that since its formalisation as an agreement between the Commission, Parliament and the Council in 2001,[7] recasting has never at any time been incorporated into the Rules of Procedure. This was probably not considered necessary, or even useful. So the way in which the technique of recasting is to be carried out, as laid down in the agreement, does not appear in the Rules of Procedure, even though from a practical point of view it is one of the ‘other procedures’ within the meaning of chapter 11 of the Rules.

    The introduction of specific provisions on recasting will therefore make good this omission, and is an attempt, as was the revision of Article 80 on codification, to clarify Parliament’s procedures and, last but not least, to encourage the Commission to draw up more proposals for recasting, thus contributing to the efforts to simplify Community legislation.

    We must give a response at the level of the Rules of Procedure to the question that sometimes arises when recasting proposals are being considered of the extent to which the codifying part of such a proposal is able to be changed by amendments. Your rapporteur initially proposed, in a working document, five possible approaches to this problem. The option incorporated in paragraph 3 of the new rule seems to your rapporteur to be the best response to both the need for a certain flexibility in exceptional situations and the desire not to complicate the procedures excessively.

    PROPOSAL FOR AMENDMENT OF PARLIAMENT’S RULES OF PROCEDURE B60582/2005

    pursuant to Rule 202 of the Rules of Procedure

    by Richard Corbett

    Amendment of Rule 80

    Codification

    Present textAmendments

    Amendment 1

    Rule 80

    1. When a Commission proposal for official codification of Community legislation is submitted to Parliament, it shall be referred to the committee responsible for legal affairs. Provided that it is ascertained that the proposal does not entail any change of substance to existing Community legislation, the procedure laid down in rule 43 shall be followed.

     

    2. The chairman of the committee responsible or the rapporteur appointed by that committee may participate in the examination and revision of the proposal for codification. If necessary, the committee responsible may give its opinion beforehand.


    3. Notwithstanding the provisions of Rule 43(3), the simplified procedure may not be applied to a proposal for official codification where this procedure is opposed by a majority of the members of the committee responsible for legal affairs or of the committee responsible.

    1. When a Commission proposal for official codification or simplification of Community legislation is submitted to Parliament, it shall be referred to the committee responsible for legal affairs. Provided that it is ascertained that the proposal does not entail any change of substance to existing Community legislation, the procedure laid down in rule 43 shall be followed.

     

    2. The chairman of the committee responsible or the rapporteur appointed by that committee may participate in the examination and revision of the proposal for codification or simplification. If necessary, the committee responsible may give its opinion beforehand.

     

    3. Notwithstanding the provisions of Rule 43(3), the simplified procedure may not be applied to a proposal for official codification or simplification where this procedure is opposed by a majority of the members of the committee responsible for legal affairs or of the committee responsible.

    Or. en

    21.12.2006

    OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AFFAIRS

    for the Committee on Constitutional Affairs

    on changes to be made to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure to bring internal procedures into line with the requirements of simplification of Community legislation
    (2005/2238(REG))

    Rapporteur pour avis: Bert Doorn

    SHORT JUSTIFICATION

    Your draftsman agrees on the whole with the approach taken by the rapporteur of the committee responsible. One of the primary obligations of the European Parliament is to improve its procedures and its internal legislative techniques in order to speed up the processing of simplification dossiers.

    Nevertheless, this effort must not detract from the procedures laid down in primary law, especially the codecision procedure where the role of Parliament is of the highest importance owing to its democratic contribution to the decision-making process of the EU. In short, this means that any amendments to Parliament’s internal procedures must comply with the relevant provisions of the Treaties.

    Your draftsman suggests, therefore, certain modifications of the Rules of Procedure which should be taken into consideration with a view to ensuring that the goals of simplification are sufficiently credible and easy to be attained.

    Revision of Rule 80 seems necessary in order to streamline the mechanism for the adoption of codifications in the light of the commitments entered into by all relevant stakeholders with regard to the simplification process. The amended Rule 80 will enable the Committee on Legal Affairs to examine the scope of a codification proposal and refer it directly to the Plenary if it does not contain any substantive changes. If it does, the Committee will propose the rejection of the Commission proposal.

    A new Rule 80a should then be introduced in order to provide a specific procedure for recasting legislative texts. As already stated in the EP Resolution on a Strategy for simplification of the regulatory environment, recasting is, along with codification, one of the primary means of simplifying the acquis communautaire and should be used as widely as possible.

    New Rule 80a will therefore empower the Committee on Legal Affairs to examine any recasting proposals. Each proposal will be referred to the committee responsible for consideration, which will enjoy special amending powers depending on the outcome of the Legal Affairs Committee’s examination.

    AMENDMENTS

    The Committee on Legal Affairs calls on the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

    Present textAmendments by Parliament

    Amendment 1

    Rule 80, paragraph 1

    1. When a Commission proposal for official codification of Community legislation is submitted to Parliament, it shall be referred to the committee responsible for legal affairs. Provided that it is ascertained that the proposal does not entail any change of substance to existing Community legislation, the procedure laid down in Rule 43 shall be followed.

    1. When a Commission proposal for official codification of Community legislation is submitted to Parliament, it shall be referred to the committee responsible for legal affairs. The latter shall examine it in order to ascertain that it is no more than a mere codification embodying no changes of a substantive nature.

    Justification

    This amendment aims at simplifying the processing of codification proposals within the committee responsible for legal affairs, by means of a clearer text and a stricter procedure, for deleting any reference to Rule 43 would avoid needless complexity at the committee level and, at the same time, would leave the present prerogatives of the plenary unchanged. As a result, the first phase of the procedure, which will take place within the Committee on Legal Affairs, will be simpler and more effective.

    Amendment 2

    Rule 80, paragraph 2

    2. The chairman of the committee responsible or the rapporteur appointed by that committee may participate in the examination and revision of the proposal for codification. If necessary, the committee responsible may give opinion beforehand.

    2. The committee responsible for legal affairs may ask the committee responsible for consideration for an opinion.

    Justification

    The proposed change concerns the possibility for the Committee on Legal Affairs to ask the committee responsible for an opinion as an element of assessment while examining the proposal for codification. This amendment reflects the practice currently followed and, in any case, would let the committee responsible intervene by means of an opinion, if requested. As a result, the first phase of the procedure, to be followed within the Committee on Legal Affairs, will be simpler and stricter.

    Amendment 3

    Rule 80, paragraph 3

    3. Notwithstanding the provisions of Rule 43(3), the simplified procedure may not be applied to a proposal for official codification where this procedure is opposed by a majority of the members of the committee responsible for legal affairs or of the committee responsible.

    3. If the committee responsible for legal affairs concludes that the proposal does not contain any substantive change to Community legislation, it shall refer it to Parliament for its approval by a single vote, with any amendments to the text of the proposal being inadmissible.

    Justification

    Rules 43 and 131, which deal with the ‘simplified procedure’ and the ‘procedure in plenary without amendment and debate’ respectively, contain provisions enabling the proposal to be open to amendment. Any such possibility is, however, at variance with the whole concept of codification, and incompatible with the existing interinstitutional agreement on the subject, and in particular paragraph 6 thereof, from which it can be deduced that the intention of Parliament and the Council is to commit themselves not to make any substantive changes to codification proposals.

    Amendment 4

    Rule 80, paragraph 3 a (new)

    3a. If the committee responsible for legal affairs concludes that the proposal does contain substantive changes to Community legislation, it shall propose that the proposal be rejected.

    Justification

    Rejecting the proposal would appear to be a more sensible solution than reverting to the normal procedure. If the Commission proposal fails to comply with the codification rules, surely it is more logical, in the context of simplification, to refer the proposal back to the Commission and ask it to ‘rethink’ its proposal (for example, by replacing it with a recasting proposal) than to burden the Parliament with additional work.

    Amendment 5

    Rule 80 a (new)

     

    Rule 80a

    Recast

     

    1. When a Commission proposal for official recasting of Community legislation is submitted to Parliament, it shall be referred to the committee responsible for legal affairs, which shall examine it. A proposal for official recasting of Community legislation shall mean a proposal for the adoption of a legal act consisting of a single text embodying substantive changes to existing legal acts and, at the same time, codifying those of their provisions which are intended to remain unchanged. The new legal act replaces and repeals the earlier acts.

     

    2. If the committee responsible for legal affairs concludes that the proposal does not contain any substantive changes to Community legislation other than those clearly identified as such in the proposal itself, it shall inform the President who, pursuant to Rule 40, shall refer the proposal in question to the committee responsible for consideration in order to have it examined under the normal procedure for legislative proposals. In this case, and under the conditions laid down in Rules 150 and 151, amendments to the proposal shall be admissible only if they concern those parts of the proposal which contain substantive changes. Amendments to provisions intended to remain unchanged shall therefore be inadmissible.

     

    3. The chairman of the committee responsible may nevertheless admit such amendments, when tabled by individual Members, if objective reasons of consistency of the text with the substantive changes made by the proposal so require. The same rule shall apply mutatis mutandis in plenary sittings.

     

    4. If the committee responsible for legal affairs concludes that the proposal does contain substantive changes other than those clearly identified as such in the proposal itself, it shall propose that the proposal be rejected.

    Justification

    Rejecting the proposal would appear to be a more sensible solution than reverting to the normal procedure. If the Commission proposal fails to comply with the codification rules, surely it is more logical, in the context of simplification, to refer the proposal back to the Commission and ask it to ‘rethink’ its proposal (for example, by replacing it with a proper recasting proposal) than to burden the Parliament with additional work.

    PROCEDURE

    Title

    EP Rules of procedure: adapt the internal procedures to the cases of simplification of Community legislation

    References

    2005/2238(REG))

    Committee responsible

    AFCO

    Opinion by
      Date announced in plenary

    JURI
    16.3.2006

    Enhanced cooperation – date announced in plenary

     

    Drafts(wo)man
      Date appointed

    Bert Doorn
    30.1.2006

    Previous drafts(wo)man

     

    Discussed in committee

    3.10.2006

    20.12.2006

     

     

     

    Date adopted

    20.12.2006

    Result of final vote

    +:

    –:

    0:

    20

    0

    0

    Members present for the final vote

    Maria Berger, Rosa Díez González, Bert Doorn, Monica Frassoni, Giuseppe Gargani, Klaus-Heiner Lehne, Katalin Lévai, Hans-Peter Mayer, Achille Occhetto, Aloyzas Sakalas, Diana Wallis, Rainer Wieland, Jaroslav Zvěřina, Tadeusz Zwiefka

    Substitute(s) present for the final vote

    Nicole Fontaine, Jean-Paul Gauzès, Malcolm Harbour, Wolf Klinz, Kurt Lechner, Toine Manders, Manuel Medina Ortega, Alexander Radwan

    Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

     

    Comments (available in one language only)

    ...

    PROCEDURE

    Title

    Changes to be made to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure to bring internal procedures into line with the requirements of simplification of Community legislation

    Procedure number

    2005/238(REG)

    Original proposal(s) for amendment

    B6‑0582/2005

     

     

    Committee responsible
      Date announced in plenary

    AFCO
    15.12.2005

     

     

     

     

    Committee asked for an opinion
      Date announced in plenary

    JURI
    16.3.2006

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Rapporteur(s)
      Date appointed

    Marie-Line Reynaud

    24.1.2006

     

    Discussed in committee

    4.10.2006

    22.1.2007

    28.2.2007

     

     

    Date adopted

    10.4.2007

    Result of final vote

    +: 20

    –: 0

    0: 0

     

     

     

    Members present for the final vote

    Enrique Barón Crespo, Richard Corbett, Jean-Luc Dehaene, Andrew Duff, Maria da Assunção Esteves, Ingo Friedrich, Bronisław Geremek, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Timothy Kirkhope, Jo Leinen, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, Rihards Pīks, Marie-Line Reynaud, Adrian Severin, Riccardo Ventre

    Substitute(s) present for the final vote

    Elmar Brok, Carlos Carnero González, Klaus Hänsch, Jacek Protasiewicz, Mauro Zani

    Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

     

    Date tabled

    16.4.2007

    Comments (available in one language only)

    ...

    • [1]  Texts adopted on that date, P6_TA(2006)0205.
    • [2]  Texts adopted on that date, P6_TA(2006)0206.
    • [3]  B6-0582/2005 of 26.10.2005.
    • [4]  Minutes of the part-session of 15.12.2005.
    • [5]  Communication of the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Implementing the Community Lisbon programme: A strategy for the simplification of the regulatory environment’ (COM(2005) 0535).
    • [6]  European Parliament resolution of 16.5.2006 on a strategy for the simplification of the regulatory environment, A6-80/2006, paragraph 21.
    • [7]  Interinstitutional Agreement of 28 November 2001 on a more structured use of the recasting technique for legal acts, OJ C 77, 28.3.2002, p. 1.