The decision-making process in the European Union. Creating policies for the Europeans.
In Modern democratic states the action policy decisions formulated at two levels:
(1) local or regional level (eg municipality, county, region).
(2) State or, as we say, "national" level, in which the government, the parliament, the courts and other institutions of the State operates.
With the inclusion of a rule in the EU an additional layer is created: (3) The so-called "Community" or "European", that is, where the EU is active with its institutions.
EU can act only in areas that Member States accept so in accordance with the treaties concluded between them. The responsibility is, as we say, "vicarious" concession ie by Member States. So, for example, the EU sole jurisdiction to regulate the economic and monetary policy for the countries of the euro zone. But there are areas in which member states are developing themselves their policies. They relate mainly to the daily life of citizens, such as health care, education, public policy, pensions and social security, and are not regulated by the EU but by the governments of member states .
The rule is that in a democratic state, the action policy decisions should be taken as close as possible to the citizen at the lowest possible administrative organization level (eg in the community, the municipality, the county or region). This is to enable citizens to participate as actively as possible in shaping decisions affecting their daily lives. When this level objective can not be sufficiently fulfilled, because, for example, exceed state borders (eg climatic changes; global warming), the action moves to the next level (first level the state, and then the EU). The EU intervenes only if considered that any action taken at European level is more appropriate and more effective than the national one. The operation is based on the so-called principle of subsidiarity which guarantees that the EU will not interfere unnecessarily in the daily life of citizens.
The decision-making process in the European Union is defined in the Treaties. The Council is responsible for policy making (eg economic policy coordination among member states on issues such as growth, unemployment, investments). The Council's decisions are taken by vote. Each country has a number of votes in the Council according to its population. A large country like Germany, have more votes and therefore more power in the Council than what a small country like Malta. In smaller countries, however, given extra votes, in order for not their opinion to be "stifled".
Most decisions are taken by majority vote. But for some sensitive issues in areas such as foreign and security policy, taxation, asylum and immigration, unanimity is required. This means that in these areas each member state has a veto (veto), and block the decision.
Responsible for the adoption of EU laws is the so-called "institutional triangle" (Council, Commission, European Parliament). Any legislative procedure first begins with the Commission's proposal, which is the driving force of the 'institutional triangle'. The Commission is the one that proposes new legislation, but the Parliament and the Council is the, who jointly approve and adopt their laws.
In the consultative process there are involved other institutions and organizations. Thus, the Commission is in constant touch with a wide range of interest groups.