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Council Of Ministers/European Commission: Division Mechanism

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 9 December 1987

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, in elaboration of the reply given on 19th November at col. 285, they will confirm that:

  • (a)despite ratification of the Single European Act, it is correct that should the Council of Ministers wish a matter to be decided by qualified majority voting, this can be done only if the Council accepts the Commission's proposal, and also
  • (b)it is correct that the Council of Ministers can only consider proposals set down by the Commission, being unable to bring forward proposals itself.
  • The Single European Act introduced a new procedure for Article 84 of the Treaty under which the common air transport policy would be adopted. Prior to that the Council could act under that Article on its own proposals but only unanimously. The effect of the Single European Act is that the Council can only act under Article 84 on a proposal made to it by the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament, but it can do so by a qualified majority. Thus a proposal must now be made formally by the Commission even if it originates in the Council. The Council may accept or reject it by a qualified majority. The Council can no longer vote to adopt a proposal of its own but pursuant to Article 149 it can amend the Commission's proposal, acting unanimously.