1 Colum. J. Eur. L. 504 (1995)
Piet Van Nuffel. Fellow of the Belgian National Foundation for Scientific Research, Institute for European Law, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
The European Parliament in defense of its prerogatives
From the time the European Court of Justice recognized the right of the European Parliament under Article 173 of the EEC Treaty – now codified in Article 173 of the EC Treaty – to bring an annulment action for the purpose of safeguarding its prerogatives,1 the Parliament has brought actions in every instance where it felt its prerogatives to be harmed. So far, two major kinds of complaints have been lodged by the Parliament to seek the annulment of measures adopted by the Council or the Commission: that the legal basis for a proposed measure is incorrect, andeor that the procedure by which the measure is sought adopted is incorrect. Many cases arise with the first complaint: the Parliament contests the legal basis based on the opinion that the application of the correct basis would grant the Parliament more leverage in the decisionmaking. Obviously, the Parliament prefers the application of the co-decision procedure to the cooperation procedure, and cooperation to a mere consultation. In the second line of cases, where the legal basis is not disputed, the Parliament denounces irregularities in the procedure which would have impeded the Parliament’s presentation of its position. It is now well established that due consultation of the Parliament as provided for by the Treaty, constitutes an essential procedural requirement, and that non-compliance renders an act void. The Court of Justice took that position for the first time in the famous “isoglucose” judgments of 1980, where it held that the Parliament’s power to participate in the legislative process reflected “at\ Community level the fundamental democratic principle that the peoples should take part in the exercise of power through the intermediary of a representative assembly.”
Three newer cases of the second kind gave further explanation concerning the Council’s obligation to consult the Parliament. All three cases have been brought under Article 173 of EC Treaty against the Council as an application for the annulment of the contested directive or regulation.”