The effect of codecision on Council decision-making: Informalization, politicization and power


Little is known about the effects of the inter-institutional linkages created through the establishment of the codecision procedure on decision-making in the Council of the European Union. After a review of the existing literature and theories on this topic, we examine to what extent the codecision procedure leads to more involvement of ministers in Council decision-making and to a more powerful position of the Presidency in the internal negotiation process of the Council. The results show that the initially positive effect of codecision on the politicization of Council decision-making has been offset in recent years by a growing lack of transparency in inter-institutional proceedings caused by the use of informal trialogue negotiations to conclude the procedure early. However, our study also suggests that the country holding the Presidency does not occupy a more privileged position in the Council’s internal co-operation network as a result of these developments. Thus, with respect to the Council, informal inter-institutional negotiation practices seem to decrease the transparency of the decision-making process and the accountability of the actors involved, but they may not have as adverse an effect on who gets what in terms of policy as previously thought.


Pp. 13-31 in Anne Rasmussen, Charlotte Burns, and Christine Reh (eds.): Legislative Codecision in the European Union: Experience over Twenty Years and Implications. London: Routledge

Reprint of 2013 journal article in Journal of European Public Policy 20, 7: 953-971

Frank M. Häge
Frank M. Häge
Political Scientist

Senior Lecturer at the University of Limerick. Interested in Legislative Politics, European Union Politics, and Historical Political Economy.