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Conciliation in the Sixth European Parliament: Formal Transparency versus Shadowy Legislating

Bilyana Petkova, Joint paper with Tomas Dumbrovsky

This paper aims to analyze changes in the conciliation phase of the co-decision procedure in the 6th parliamentary term and to assess whether there is correlation between these changes and the Eastern Enlargement. Firstly, we analyze the impact of formal changes in the functioning of conciliation: a) the new Joint Declaration on practical arrangements in co-decision; b) the new powers of the EP in comitology as enshrined in the Council decision 2006/512/EC; and c) the decision of the ECJ in the IATA case (C-344/04). Secondly, we inquire into structural changes brought to conciliation as a result of the Eastern Enlargement. The membership of the conciliation committee increased from 30 to 54, causing the body to poorly perform its original task, that is, to negotiate different views on legislative proposals in a small group. Instead, an even smaller group composed of representatives of the three main institutions has emerged – the so-called trialogue. The practice of trialogue has substantially expanded in the 6th EP, leading to a great number of draft legislation to be pre-agreed without open political discussion and impeding on the involvement of MEPs from the new Member States. Despite the positive formal reforms, transparency of conciliation was compromised.

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