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The Commission’s implementing powers
This Regulation establishes the rules and principles relating to the implementing powers conferred upon the Commission. When adopting implementing acts, the Commission works in close cooperation with committees composed of representatives of Member States.
Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers.
Implementing powers enable the Commission to adopt the implementing measures for a European legal act. The Commission only holds implementing powers if the basic legal act so provides. They are therefore not general powers. Moreover, the exercise of these powers is strictly framed in order to ensure that Member States are associated with the preparation of implementing acts.
This Regulation thus lays down the rules concerning the control of the exercise of the Commission’s implementing powers. This control is applied through the comitology procedures – the Commission must submit each draft implementing act to committees composed of representatives of Member States.
There are around 300 committees covering almost all of the Union’s powers. The committees are composed of representatives of Member States, but also of scientific experts or representatives from business and industry. They are chaired by a Commission representative, who nevertheless does not participate in voting when the committee delivers an opinion on a draft implementing act.
The role of the committees is to assist the Commission in preparing implementing acts. The Commission therefore consults them each time that it is about to adopt an implementing act. Depending on which procedure is undertaken, the committee’s positive opinion may be optional or obligatory. In all cases, committees offer a forum for discussion between the Commission and the national administrations of the Member States and the most satisfactory solution is always sought.
The procedures for the adoption of implementing acts
Within the committees, there are two types of procedure: the examination procedure and the advisory procedure. The procedure selected is laid down in the basic act which confers implementing powers upon the Commission.
Under the examination procedure, the Commission may only adopt an implementing act if the committee delivers a positive opinion. If a negative opinion is delivered, the Commission may either propose an amended version of the draft act within two months, or refer the matter to the appeal committee. If the appeal committee is seised, its opinion must be positive if the draft act is to be adopted.
As a general rule, the examination procedure applies to the adoption of implementing acts:
- of general scope;
- concerning programmes with substantial implications;
- concerning the common agricultural and common fisheries policies;
- concerning the environment, and the protection of the health or safety of humans, animals or plants;
- concerning the common commercial policy;
- concerning taxation.
The consultative procedure generally applies in all other cases. Under the consultative procedure, the Commission decides whether to adopt the act taking into account, as far as possible, the conclusions of discussions held within the committee.
Adoption of implementing acts in exceptional cases
Exceptionally, the Commission may adopt an implementing act even if a committee has delivered a negative opinion where that act is necessary to avoid creating:
- a significant disruption of the markets in the area of agriculture;
- a risk for the financial interests of the Union.
In such cases, the Commission submits the implementing act to the appeal committee immediately after its adoption. If the appeal committee delivers a negative opinion, the implementing act is repealed.
Adoption of implementing acts with immediate effect
In an emergency, a basic act may give immediate effect to implementing measures adopted by the Commission. The Commission may thus adopt implementing acts without having to consult the competent committee.
The duration of such acts cannot, however, exceed six months. Furthermore, the act must be submitted to the appeal committee at the latest 14 days after its adoption. If the appeal committee delivers a negative opinion, the implementing act is repealed.
The legal basis for implementing powers is to be found in Article 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Pursuant to that article, implementing powers are generally held by Member States – they are responsible for applying European law in their internal law through their national administration.
However, there are cases where uniform application of European law is necessary in order to avoid, for example, any form of discrimination or distortion of competition. Thus, Article 291 of the TFEU enables the Commission to adopt implementing measures for a European judicial act. The basic act must then explicitly confer implementing powers upon the Commission.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
Regulation (EU) No 182/2011
OJ L 182, 28.2.2011
This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.