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The European UnionHow does it work?

The European Union: How does it work? (6th edn)

Daniel Kenealy, Amelia Hadfield, Richard Corbett, and John Peterson
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date: 29 February 2024

p. 1085. Policy-making in the EUlocked

p. 1085. Policy-making in the EUlocked

  • Daniel Kenealy


This chapter examines how EU policies are made. Most EU legislation is now adopted via a process in 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. The chapter considers how policy is made formally, explaining the underlying principles, principal actors, and key stages of the policy process. It goes on to consider what happens in practice, exploring the EU’s institutional hierarchies and policy networks. It also evaluates the transparency and efficiency of the EU policy-making process.

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