Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Puzzle over co-decision

It is far from clear how agricultural issues will be dealt with under co-decision once the reform treaty is enacted. Under current rules, most CAP dossiers are decided under the 'consultation' procedure, where the Council must wait for an EP opinion, but has no obligation to incorporate EP amendments into the final text.

The reform treaty retains the text of the consitutional treaty which made a distinction between 'bigger' political issues, but consultation would remain for so-called 'technical' dossiers such as those 'relating to prices, customs duties, quotas and direct aids.' In practice, some of these could be very political. In any case, the distinction is a very fuzzy one and requires clarification if the system is to work.

The EP, although very attuned to issues like the environmental costs of pesticide use, has often not been a strong advocate of reform with its agriculture committee dominated by farm interests.

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