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How decisions are made

Designing EU policies and laws to benefit citizens, businesses and other stakeholders in the EU.

About decision making

EU policies and laws are carefully designed to bring benefits to citizens, businesses and other stakeholders in the EU. Better regulation tools ensure that policy is based on evidence and best available practice. Depending on its level of political importance, an initiative is either agreed on by the Commission during the Commissioners' weekly meetings, using the oral procedure, or by written procedure. 

How the Commission plans

Before the Commission proposes a new policy or law, it:

Citizens can suggest new EU policies or laws through the European citizens' initiative.

How priorities are set

Work programme

Get updates on new roadmaps and public consultations

Give us your opinion and participate in a public consultation

How the Commission decides

Once the draft text is finalised, having taken into consideration all of the input received on the initiative, it is submitted for inter-service consultation. All relevant departments are consulted. 

Depending on its level of political importance, an initiative for a new policy or law is either agreed on by the Commission during the Commissioners' weekly meetings, using the oral procedure, or by written procedure.

Oral procedure involves a debate and agreement on the initiative by the Commissioners. 

Alternatively, the Commissioners can give their consent to a new initiative in writing, using the written procedure. This can only be sought after the agreement of the legal department and any departments consulted during the planning and proposing stage.

The finalised initiative

Depending on the nature of the act finalised by the Commission, the text of the initiative can be sent to the European Parliament and Council, as well as to those it is intended for, such as the EU member countries. It may also be published in the Official Journal of the EU.

Find out more about the Commission's rules of procedure

When legislative action is needed

If the Commission decides that legislative action is needed, the initiative will pass through a number of stages before it officially becomes an EU law. Most EU laws are adopted by what is known as the ordinary legislative procedure, which involves the European Parliament and Council as co-legislators.

Find out more about the steps an initiative goes through during the EU law-making process, or  give feedback  on new Commission initiatives.

Commission monitors and enforces

The Commission monitors whether member countries apply EU law properly (including transposing it into national law) and can start an infringement procedure if they do not. Companies must respect EU competition laws, and if they break them – by forming cartels for example – the Commission can investigate and impose fines.

Submit a complaint

If you think an EU country or company is not correctly applying EU law, you can submit a complaint.

Commission evaluates and improves

The Commission continuously evaluates so as to improve policies and laws, so that they achieve their objectives in the most efficient and effective way possible.

REFIT - Making EU law simpler and less costly

Planning of evaluations

Forthcoming evaluations are communicated to the public via evaluation roadmaps.

Planned evaluations from 2017 onwards