European Law Monitor

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What Is Second Reading?

Second Reading is the second time that the European Parliament has the opportunity to revew a proposed piece of legislation at plenary.

Second Reading is really divided into two stages: the Committee Stage and the Plenary stage. One of the key differences between First Reading and Second Reading is after the First Reading time restrictions start to apply.

Committee Stage

If the Council decide to adopt a Common Position after the First Reading, they will send the President of the European Parliament a copy of their Common Position, the reasons for it, declarations in the Council minutes, and a copy of the Commission's position.

This will then be sent to committee responsible, who would also have dealt with the proposal at First Reading.

At the next committee meeting following the First Reading Plenary, the Council's common position will be placed on the agenda for discussion. Over the next 3 or 4 months the committee has to decide whether to:

a) Accept the Common Position
b) Reject it
c) Amend it

(If they do nothing within this set timescale then the proposal is deemed to be adopted, and will be sent to the Council who will pass it as law).

Plenary Stage

The proposal will then be put to the vote at the first Plenary whose Wednesday falls before or closest to the expiry of the 3 or 4 months since the committee received the Council's Common Position. That Plenary meeting is the official Second Reading.