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The European Union: How does it work?

The European Union: How does it work? (5th edn)

Daniel Kenealy, John Peterson, and Richard Corbett
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date: 10 December 2023

p. 1236. How Policies Are Madelocked

p. 1236. How Policies Are Madelocked

  • Daniel Kenealy
  •  and Fiona Hayes-Renshaw


This chapter examines how European Union policies are made. Most EU legislation is now adopted according to the Ordinary Legislative Procedure, under which the Council and the European Parliament have equal powers. The basic policy-making rules laid down in the Treaties have been supplemented over the years by formal agreements and informal understandings between the main actors in the decision-making institutions. EU policy-making is open to criticism on grounds of democracy, transparency, and efficiency, but it continues to deliver an impressive amount and array of policy outcomes. The chapter considers the basic rules and principal actors involved in EU policy-making and how the policy-making process works in practice. It also asks whether the EU policy-making process is democratic, transparent, and efficient, before concluding with an assessment of the theory and practice underlying the process.

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