Update: According to the comment by Anonymous, the present decision is was still based on the old comitology decision, not the new one as one can read in the ALDE press release linked below.
So we still need to wait for the new powers of the EP to become effective...
According to a press release of ALDE, the European Parliament has, for the first time, used its new Comitology powers against the Commission.
I have covered comitology and its reform in a number of recent posts. And because the EP's Environment & Health Committee (ENVI) is clever, it used the very nice issue of meat glue to make everyone aware of the fact that this reform actually happened.
Meat glue is like the Comitology itself: It is an additive you don't notice but it keeps together pieces of stuff that would otherwise fall apart. It's details are very technical and can only be understood by very few experts.
Åsa Westlund (S&D group), the MEP responsible for the coordination of this decision as the rapporteur, showed positive surprise in her blog about the support and the majority she received in the Committee for her draft resolution which concerned this quite technical draft Commission directive.
While neither in the draft Directive nor in the EP resolution there is any hint to the Comitology procedure, the ALDE press release mentioned above gives an indication that this was still the case:
This is the first time since the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty that the European Parliament has opposed implementing a so-called technical measure under the comitology procedure (delegated act) of the European Commission and the Member States.The term "delegated act" is a hint to Article 290 TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), where in paragraph 1 we can read that
"A legislative act may delegate to the Commission the power to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of the legislative act."This means that the Commission can be given powers to decide upon certain details of EU regulation, e.g. via Council Directives, on its own. However, in paragraph 2b of Article 290 it is specified that
"the delegated act may enter into force only if no objection has been expressed by the European Parliament or the Council within a period set by the legislative act"which seems to be the case with the "Meat Glue Directive": The Commission wanted to regulate "technical aspects" of an existing act where it had been given delegated powers and the European Parliament expresses its objection.
This power was given to the European Parliament by the Lisbon Treaty.
However, it is still unclear to me how the procedure will look like after the formal objection in the plenary of the European Parliament because the detailed regulation on Article 290 TFEU is not yet in place.
But no matter how this procedure will be, we seem to have witnessed yet another "first time" moment in the use of new legislative powers by the European Parliament after the Lisbon reform.
(Thanks to an unnamed EU official for making me aware of this story.)
Picture: © roboppy / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0