Interinstitutional negotiations for the adoption of EU legislation

Trilogue meeting - European Parliament

Trilogue meeting - © European Union (2017) - European Parliament

Interinstitutional negotiations have become standard practice for the adoption of EU legislation.They enable the co-legislators to reach agreement at any stage of the legislative procedure. For Parliament, the general framework for conducting such negotiations is set out in the Rules of Procedure. 

The Parliament's mandate is based either on a report adopted in committee or the position adopted in Plenary. As soon as the lead committee has adopted its report, it may decide to enter into negotiations. At first reading such a decision is subject to a plenary "check". Plenary can either endorse the committee's decision to enter into negotiations with its report as mandate or it can modify the content of the report and refer it back as amended to the committee for negotiations. Plenary can always decide to conclude the first reading of Parliament without negotiations.

Negotiations between the institutions on legislative proposals generally take the form of tripartite meetings ('trilogues') between Parliament, the Council and the Commission. For a given file, each institution designates its negotiators and defines its negotiating mandate. Trilogues may be organised at any stage of the legislative procedure (first, second or third reading). Any provisional agreement reached in trilogues is informal and has therefore to be approved by the formal procedures applicable within each of the two institutions. In Parliament, the text of the provisional agreement has to be approved by a vote in committee after which it is confirmed in plenary.

Negotiation process under the Ordinary Legislative Procedure

Trilogues explained