The cooperation procedure resembles the co-decision procedure in terms of dialogue necessary between the institutions and possibility of two readings but differs in one crucial aspect, which is that the Council, on its own, has the final decision-making power.

At first reading, Parliament issues an Opinion and the Council then adopts a Common Position by a qualified majority. At second reading, the Parliament has three months to adopt, amend or reject the Council’s Common Position, the adoption requiring a simple majority whilst the amendment and rejection require an absolute majority.

Rejections by the Parliament have so far been exceptional and when they occurred, these rejections were not overturned either because the Council could not reach the required unanimity to do so or because the Commission withdrew the proposal.

The Parliament’s second reading position is examined by the Council that can either accept it by qualified majority or reject it by unanimity. In the latter case, the Commission must re-examine the proposal and put an amended version before the Council, which in turn has three months to either: (1) adopt the re-examined proposal by qualified majority; (2) amend it unanimously; (3) adopt unanimously the amendments from the Parliament that the commission has not taken on board or (4) exercise a veto by refusing to express itself on the amendments proposed by the European Parliament or on the amended proposal by the Commission.

The cooperation procedure has been replaced in many areas by co-decision, and currently only applies to four areas of the European Economic and Monetary Union:

  • The rules for the multilateral surveillance procedure
  • The prohibition on privileged access to financial institutions
  • The prohibition on assuming liability for Member States’ commitments
  • Measures to harmonise the circulation of coins.

Documents that must undergo the cooperation procedure are marked with the code “SYN”.

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