The media often report on how Brussels has decided on a new piece of legislation, but this is a simple version of what is a very complicated process. Parliament became a central part of the EU decision-making process when the co-decision procedure was introduced in 1992. Under the co-decision procedure, a proposal tabled by the European Commission needs to be approved by both the European Parliament and the national governments – represented by the Council of the European Union – in order to become European legislation. The system gave an equal say to both the elected MEPs and the national governments on a wide range of issues, including for example migration, energy, transport, environment, economic governance and consumer protection.
In 2009 the co-decision procedure became the main way of creating European legislation under the Lisbon Treaty, which also renamed it the ordinary legislative procedure. The following info-graphic shows statistics about EP legislation in the past few years and explains how the ordinary legislative procedure works.