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Friday, 05 November 2010

UK, Germany resist attempted EU power grab on trade

EU's daily decision-making is facing resistance from a group of countries led by Germany and the UK, who are insisting on keeping a say on trade policy. EU diplomats are meeting in Brussels today (5 November) to discuss a Commission proposal to review the so-called 'comitology' procedure, in line with the Lisbon Treaty. The fast-track procedure, which stands accused of being too opaque and complex, involves powerful committees of national experts who pass implementing acts accompanying EU legislation, based on a Commission proposal. Decisions on milk quotas or on approving chemical substances, for example, are all routinely taken via comitology. The procedure's main advantage is that it is much faster than the normal legislative machinery. But it bypasses the European Parliament on decisions that sometimes carry high significance. The influence of member states, especially small ones, is also disproportionately high. The Lisbon Treaty, adopted in December last year, reformed the comitology procedure by increasing the Commission and the Parliament's say in the system. Under the previous system, national capitals were able to block a Commission proposal by a simple majority. The new procedure enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty foresees instead that member states will only be able to stop a Commission decision with a qualified majority.

Source: Euractiv

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