The EU decision making process is long and complex – but it is still possible to influence. It simply takes time and commitment.

European Commission prepares proposal

The European Commission is the only body who can initiate and draft EU legislation. When the Commission prepares a proposal, a process of consultation always follows. This means that the Commission presents its ideas and intentions in the form of a consultation paper or a so-called Green Paper. Thereafter stakeholders are invited to provide feedback. BETTER FINANCE gives written input on all matters that concern financial services users. We also meet regularly with the Commission.

After the Commission has received the input, they draft a final proposal which might well include changes based on the input they have received. BETTER FINANCE works hard to have our points of view included. Read here our consultation replies.

Negotiation and decision in European Parliament

When the final proposal is tabled, it is sent to both the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. In the Parliament, a Committee will be responsible for the proposal. BETTER FINANCE again analyses the text and its effect on financial services users, and writes further proposals for amendments. We meet with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and ask them to put our amendments forward and argue for them. Usually, we can find MEPs who are willing to take on most of our amendments. In the Parliament, a process of negotiation and voting takes place, first in the Committee and then in Plenary until the Parliament agrees on a final text. BETTER FINANCE follows the whole process to do all we can to get our suggestions included.

Negotiation and decision in Council of Ministers

Simultaneously with the discussions in the Parliament, the proposal is also discussed in the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers is made up of ministers from all EU Member States and they all represent the opinion of their national government. In the process of forming the national opinion, the governments usually hold consultations to receive input from national stakeholders. BETTER FINANCE’s member organisations try to influence this process by meeting with government representatives and taking part in the national discussion. BETTER FINANCE member union put forward the same key priorities to their national governments, as BETTER FINANCE works on in the EU institutions.

New EU legislation

When both the Council and the Parliament have made their decision they select representatives who meet to negotiate the final decision. The Commission facilitates these negotiations.

Implementation in Member States

The EU decisions then have to be implemented in all EU Member States and many are adapted to national laws and conditions. National organisations can take part in the implementation process, to ensure that the national legislation is formed in the most preferable way from the point of view of its members. In this process, it is also important to work for a similar implementation in all countries to avoid the creation of an un-level playing field.