As any national parliament, the European Parliament's role is mainly a legislative one even if, as opposed to national assemblies, it does not possess the exclusivity of the power to establish and vote the law. The development of the power of the Parliament belongs to a logic of increasing transparency and accountability so as to give to the European people a stronger feeling of being linked to what occurs at the European level
[...] In such important areas as the CAP, the procedure to decide legislative outcomes is the consultation. Under this procedure, the Parliament's role is very weak since the Parliament is only given one opportunity to see the proposition of the Commission and to amend it. What is more, the Council of Ministers is not bound by the Parliament's opinion, which lets this institution rather powerless in some important matters. The Parliament does also not hold any real initiative power. It is right that, as explained in the article 138b of the TEU, the Parliament can ask the Commission to produce a proposition on any subject it feels European law should be established, but the Commission is only bound by the matter, not by the content of the proposition it has to produce. [...]
[...] This makes sometimes rather difficult for the European Parliament to reach the absolute majority required to amend Commission's proposals. What is more the absolute majority is all the more difficult to reach because of absenteeism that the quorum is quite high. And deputies, as they are paid depending on their nationality, are rather likely not to have the same interest for parliamentarian sessions German deputy earns far less than an Italian one). To this financial interest has to be added a geographical nuisance. [...]
[...] But the Parliament does not possess a full legislative power since the agreement of the Council is necessary for a text to be adopted. Therefore the Parliament only possesses a role of opposition, which is not constructive. So, if on the one hand the treaties have increased the Parliament's power, they yet do not give it a complete legislative power comparable to the one given to national assemblies. Moreover, the Parliament remains sometimes quite powerless to decide legislative outcomes for reasons that are not caused by the treaties. The first one should be the absence of any real party system. [...]
[...] Menacing to reject the draft of the budget can be a means for the Parliament to gain more respect from the Council that so must act more respectably of Parliament's amendments and comments. This is not for the Parliament a real means of controlling the Council of Ministers but of influencing some decisions. The Parliament has also means to influence the Commission. First, the Parliament is given by the treaty the right to request the Commission to submit a proposal in any area, but it also can put pressure on the Commission since it possesses the right, even if the quorum is very hard to reach, to censor the Commission, which is an important moral power. [...]
[...] The co-operation procedure, as described in article 189c of the TEU gives to the Parliament two opportunities to see a legislative proposition since it is given the duty to deliberate on the common position established by the Council of Ministers after the Parliament's first reading. Even if the Council takes the final decision after the Parliament's second reading, this procedure remains quite efficient since many amendments proposed by the Parliament are eventually incorporated to the final legal text. The co-decision procedure is described at article 189b of the TEU. This procedure, if it is more complicated than the co- operation procedure, gives to the Parliament the right to oppose a text. [...]
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