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Legislation of the European Union (part 2)



Sometimes the Community will wish to make a legally binding rule which only affects one or a limited number of Member States or an identifiable organization or even one individual. Sometimes the Community makes so called administrative decisions ( in particular in the organization of agricultural and competition matters).

The measure here is called a decision. A decision is binding on the addressee of the decision.

The Council must decide unanimously whether directives and decisions should be published for the purposes of information in the Official Journal of the European Communities. As a matter of normal practice, directives are usually published in the Official Journal, which is published in each of the official languages of the Community.


The nearest equivalent within the Community to a national legislature is the Council. In practice, the Council, being in legal form simply a small group of representatives from each Member State, cannot possibly undertake the vast amount of labor involved, or possess the complete expertise needed, in the enactment of secondary legislation. Consequently, the Council works through working parties composed of the administrative staff of the Council and the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER).

COREPER co-ordinates the work needed to prepare the Council for the formal adoption of secondary legislation.

In essence, the Community «legislator» represents a balance of power between the representatives of the Member States (the Council of Ministers) and the representative of the Community (the Commission) . The balance is laid down in the Treaty and is achieved by the fact that the final decision belongs to the Council. Treaty provisions state that regulations, directives and decisions are to be made, issued and taken by the Council. But the Council can only act upon a proposal from the Commission, and if it acts on a proposal from the Commission, unanimity is required for an act constituting an amendment to that proposal. There is a further balance between the desire to allow Member States to protect their national interests and the desire to limit the right of Member States to veto matters on which there is overwhelming agreement by the majority of Member States. This is achieved by provisions which provide for decisions to be taken by the Council by a simple majority of states, by unanimity and by a ‘qualified majority’, designed to achieve some measure of weighting according to the population of the state. A feature of the development of the Community has been a gradual change from the requirement of unanimity to the requirement of qualified majority. The Single European Act took this even further by amending a number of important provisions of the EEC Treaty which required unanimity so that, in the interests of «unblocking» and speeding up the Community decision-making process, the requirement now is only that of a qualified majority and by making legislative decision making in several of the new areas of Community competence.

There is no single legislative procedure that is applied unwavering to the creation of all secondary legislation.

In all cases the Council, as has been seen, can only act following a proposal from the Commission. The Commission may initiate a proposal of its own motion or it may be required by the Council to draw up a proposal. The proposal will be drafted within the appropriate Commission Directorate (s) General and the final text, if approved by the Commission, will be submitted to the Council for formal adoption.

Dwell on the Topic 10

Human Rights in Ukraine

On July 16, 1990 Supreme Council of Ukraine has ratified the Declaration of the State Independence of Ukraine, which has proclaimed "the state independence of Ukraine is priority, independence, completeness and unity of the authority of the Republic in its territorial borders and independence and equality in external relations". In the Declaration there was stressed the equality of all citizens of the republic irrespective of origin, social and property status, race and nationality, sex , education, language, political sights and religion, profession, place of residing and other circumstances.

On December 25, 1991 Ukraine has joined the Optional Protocol and International Pact on Civil and Political Rights.

But, unfortunately, having ratified these important international agreements, Ukraine its own internal legislation has not been put in conformity with the named agreements.

For example in Section of the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights it is said, that the person has the right to life, which is protected by the law. But in our state capital punishment is still used. This kind of punishment is preserved in the new Criminal code draft.

Ukraine ratified 45 important international conventions, has participated in preparation and acceptance of more than 60 resolutions, declarations, pacts, conventions, agreements and other documents, which impose particular international obligations on member countries. Besides the above mentioned international documents, Ukraine ratified the International Convention on Liquidation of All Forms of Race Discrimination, the International Convention on Termination of Apartheid Crimes and Punishment for Them, Convention Against Apartheid in Sport, Convention on Liquidation of All Forms of Discrimination of Women. It testifies a certain level of development of legal culture, that will allow the state to enter the world community.


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