The assent procedure was introduced by the Single European Act. Under this procedure, the Council of the European Union must obtain Parliament's assent before certain decisions can be made. Acceptance ("assent") requires an absolute majority of votes.
The European Parliament can accept or reject the proposal but not amend it. However, the Parliament can produce an interim report making recommendations for modifications, and a conciliation has also been introduced.
The areas included under the assent procedure were:
Following the adoption of the Treaty of Amsterdam, sanctions imposed on an EU Member State for a serious and persistent breach of fundamental rights requires Parliament's assent under Article 7 of the EU Treaty.
In its opinion on the 2000 Intergovernmental Conference, the European Commission argued in favor of extending this procedure to apply to the conclusions of agreements having global economic and commercial implications.
With entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the assent procedure was renamed consent procedure, and it was defined as part of the special legislative procedures, as opposed to ordinary legislative procedure (formerly codecision).
Its applications include:
Under the consent procedure, the Parliament express its approval on a Council draft act by an absolute majority vote, without possibility to amend it. Informally, the Parliament is involved by the Commission since the beginning of the procedure, in order to guarantee its consent, although the Treaties do not formally forecast it.
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