STEP 3. Decision-making in the EU

Once that an issue has entered the agenda, decision-making follows. This phase includes a preliminary stage of policy shaping or policy formulation where alternative policy options are identified. Decision-makers then formally decide to adopt one alternative and -through specific procedures- embed it into the final legislative text. In the EU, this phase is highly institutionalized and includes several players, as well as formal and informal mechanisms aimed at facilitating the reach of a common agreement and of the final decision. The kind of decision-making procedure, which determines also the type of interaction among actors, is legally defined by the Treaty and formally indicated at the beginning of each act.

Generally, EU policy decisions are proposed by the European Commission and then co-decided by the Council of Ministers and by the European Parliament, even if several committees and working groups participate in the preparatory work. To have a quick idea of how this process looks like, have a look at this short video.