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How decisions are taken in the EU

The Maastricht Treaty gave the European Parliament the power of "co-decision" with the Council in a limited number of areas such as research, health and culture. It left the Council with the last say on a significant number of other policies, but still substantially increased the Parliament's power.

Before Maastricht, the Parliament could amend the Council's draft legislation (the so-called cooperation procedure), offer its opinion through the "consultation" procedure, or withhold its "assent" to Council decisions in certain areas (residence rights, the Structural and Cohesion Funds, Treaties of Accession and others).