Consequently, the European Parliament has gained sufficient power to be equal in power, with the European Council. The latter consists of representatives from the Member States2.
The Amsterdam Treaty of 1993, served to further increase the power of the EP, in respect of its decision – making process. These reforms were initiated, in order to address democratic deficit in the law – making procedures of the European Commission. In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty was adopted, in the meeting of the Intergovernmental Conference. This Treaty is also known as the Treaty on European Union. It introduced the complex co – decision procedure and provided the right of veto to the European Parliament, which it can exercise, under certain circumstances3.
In the 1996-1997 round of the Intergovernmental Conference, the issue of democratic deficit was once again taken up for discussion and it was decided to make efforts to address it. This meeting resulted in widespread reforms to various aspects of the European Community, and the role of the European Parliament was also discussed in this meeting. Moreover, these changes supplanted the decisions taken under the cooperation procedure, with the new and simplified system of co-decision procedure4.
The European Parliament can now determine the drafting of EU budget and statutes. The EP has enacted the legislation relating to the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital within the EU. It has also acquired the power to enact laws that protect the environment and consumers. Furthermore, the European Parliament is empowered to approve or dismiss the European Commission5.
Subsequent to the first direct elections in 1979, the European Parliament took up the onerous task of institutional reform. The purpose behind this initiative was to realise the dream of the founding members of the ECSC and the EEC. These founders had aimed at establishing an international entity that would truly