Own-initiative procedure (INI)

Source: Europa Nu.

By means of the own-initiative report the European Parliament request the European Commission to put forward a legislative proposal on a certain issue. An own-initiative report is drawn-up according to Parliament's own procedures. It is not regarded as one of the formal decision-making procedures of the European Union, but it is seen as a significant precursor to legislative procedures being initiated.

In short the procedure for an own-initiative report is as follows: a parliamentary committee proposes a resolution and a report on an issue that they feel requires new EU legislation. Should the European Parliament vote in favour of the own-initiative report it is sent to the Commission that is obliged to let Parliament know whether it will or will not submit a legislative proposal.


Own-initiative procedure in detail

Step 1: intention EP-committee

A committee of the European Parliament makes its intention clear to put forward an own-initiative report on a topic that is within the competence of the European Union.

It identifies the legal basis for the intended proposal accompanied by a very brief summary of reasons for doing so and this is sent to the Conference of Presidents.

Step 2: approval Conference of Presidents

The Conference of Presidents examines any proposal for an own-initiative report made by a committee and will either grant permission to continue work on an own-initiative report or withhold authorisation.

The Conference of Presidents only withholds authorisation if the conditions - the EU having competence in the matter - are not met. It will issue its verdict within two months.

Step 3: tabling an own-initiative report

The parliamentary committee writes an own-initiative report that is required to include, if applicable:

  • a resolution including the legal basis for the requested legislation
  • a report outlining what content Parliament would want to see included in the requested legislation
  • should the requested legislation have budgetary implications an outline on how financial issues might be resolved

The own-initiative report and accompanying resolution are submitted to plenary.

Step 4: plenary decides

When the own-initiative report is up in plenary amendments may be submitted by MEP's. Any amendments and the own-initiative report will be voted upon by a majority of votes cast. Two outcomes are possible:

  • 1) 
    the European Parliament endorses an own-initiative report, which is promptly sent to the European Commission
  • 2) 
    the European Parliament votes down the own-initiative report, no steps are taken

Step 5: follow-up by European Commission

Having received an own-initiative report the European Commission has three months to either:

  • 1) 
    submit, or indicate it will submit, a proposal on the specific issue Parliament sought to address in its own-initiative report. The Commission is not obliged to use the Parliaments' content on the issue as a basis for its formal legal proposal
  • 2) 
    notify Parliament it will submit a legislative proposal. It will inform Parliament of its reason for not doing so

Should the Commission decide it wil take legislative action formal decision-making procedures will be followed. When the Commission does not take action Parliament cannot take action to force the Commission to submit legislative proposals.


Application of own-initiative reports

The right of initiative is the perogative of the European Commission, or in a limited set of policy areas, the Commission and the member-states. The European Parliament has the own-initiative report at its disposal to nudge the Commission into proposing legislation. For political reasons such requests by Parliament may be hard to ignore. However, the Commission is not obliged to follow Parliaments' suggestions with regard to the content of a possible proposal.

Parliament can only issue own-initiative reports on policy areas the EU has competence. An own-initiative report can initiate an entirely new policy or it can entail a request to revise and amend existing legislation.

Parliament generally does not issue own-initiative reports on topics that are being covered by existing proposals as it has greater influence effectuate any changes it might seek in ongoing negotiations with the Council and the Commission.


Legal framework

Own-initiative reports have a basis in the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TfEU).

  • procedure: part six TfEU title 1 chapter 1 section 1 art. 225
  • EP rules of procedure (art. 45, 46, 52)


Further information