2009 - 2014
Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality
Consequences of the Treaty of Lisbon in women's rights and gender equality
policy area
The changes introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon have consequences on the one side on the
subject matters within the remit of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality
and on the other side on the procedural aspects.
Consequences on the subject matters within the remit of Committee on Women's Rights
and Gender Equality (FEMM)1
 affirmation of the principle of gender equality as a value of the Union (new element
introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon) - Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) ;
 reaffirmation of the principle of gender equality as an objective of the Union - Article
3 (3) second indent of the TEU (former article 2 of the Treaty establishing the European
Community (TEC) );
 the same legal value for the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union as
for the Treaties (article 6 (1) of the TEU). The Charter thus becomes legally binding, as
stated in Declaration 1 annexed to the Treaty.
On the basis of the note on the Impact of the Lisbon Treaty on FEMM policy area of 14.4.2008 (Hélène Calers, Policy Department C, DG
IPOL, European Parliament)
United in diversity
The Charter of Fundamental Rights contains provisions referring to:
 the horizontal principle of equality between men and women (Article 23 of the
 the general prohibition of discrimination (Article 21 first paragraph of the Charter),
 the prohibition of slavery and forced labour which also refers to trafficking: article 5
(3) of the Charter states that "trafficking in human beings is prohibited",
 rights related to maternity (article 33 (2) of the Charter provides that "to reconcile
family and professional life, everyone shall have the right to protection from dismissal
for a reason connected with maternity and the right to paid maternity leave and to
parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child" and Article 34 (1) of the
Charter provides that "the Union recognises and respects the entitlement to social
security benefits and social services providing protection in cases such as maternity
 affirmation of the gender mainstreaming as a horizontal principle. From now on
gender mainstreaming is a principle of general application in all EU policies - article 8
of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (the TEC contained the
same provision but its area was restricted to the Community activities listed in Article 3 of
the respective treaty).
 affirmation of the non-discrimination as a horizontal principle - article 10 of the
TFEU. Under this new article the Union must aim to combat discrimination when
"defining and implementing its policies and activities" (there was no similar provision in
the TEC).
 strengthening the legislative role of the Parliament in the field of non-discrimination.
From now on the "consent" of the Parliament will be needed for the Council to take
appropriate action to combat discrimination - Article 19 of the TFEU (previously article
13 of TEC provided only for the consultation of the Parliament).
 the ordinary legislative procedure (former codecision) will be applied in the field of
trafficking in human beings (previously provisions related to trafficking were included in
the third pillar, Parliament being only consulted). From now on, the Parliament and the
Council will act together in order to:
adopt measures in "combating trafficking in persons, in particular women and
children (Article 79 of the TFEU)
"establish minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions
in the areas of particularly serious crime with a cross-border dimension resulting from
the nature or impact of such offences or from a special need to combat them on a
common basis". This includes "trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation of
women and children" (Article 83 of the TFEU).
 political commitment to combat domestic violence. The Union "will aim in its different
policies to combat all kinds of domestic violence" (Declaration 19 annexed to the Treaty)
 consultation of the Parliament in the field of family law - article 81 (3) of the TFEU
provides that "measures concerning family law with cross-border implications shall be
established by the Council, acting in accordance with a special legislative procedure. The
Council shall act unanimously after consulting the European Parliament". Some aspects
related to family law might be of concern for women's rights and gender issues.
Consequences regarding the procedural aspects
Changes of terminology following the Treaty of Lisbon (Rules 58, 59 and 61 of the EP
Rules of Procedure)
adoption of the position of Parliament at first reading (no longer "amendments");
ordinary legislative procedure (former "codecision")
Council position (no longer "common position")
Consent instead of "assent" (in French "approbation" instead of "avis conforme")
Consequences on pending legislative proposals in the FEMM Committee
General aspects
The Commision has adopted a communication on the consequences of the entry into force of
the Treaty of Lisbon for pending procedures (so called "omnibus" (COM 2009(0665)). The
consequences on the pending proposals are different taking into account the different stages in
which a proposal can be.
The general consequence is the automatic renumbering of the legal basis, but there are also
exceptions to the general rule: either a change in the decision making procedure (extension of
the "ordinary legislative procedure" - the former "codecision") ; either a broader change of the
legal basis is needed and the Commission proposal will be formally modified; in some cases,
given the fact that the legal framework has been radically changed, the proposal will be
withdrawn and replaced with a new one.
Specific consequences
 COD/2008/0193 - Health and safety at work: workers who are pregnant, have
recently given birth or are breastfeeding (amend. Directive 92/85/EEC) (rapporteur
Estrela Edite) - scheduled for adoption in committee on 23.02.2010, foreseen for plenary
on the 24-25.03.2009. This legislative proposal is subject to automatic renumbering - new
legal basis: Art 153(2), Art 157 (3) of the TFEU (former legal basis EC Art.137 (2), Art.
141(3) of the TEC).
 COD/2008/0192 Equal treatment between men and women: self-employed workers
and their spouses (repeal. Directive 86/613/EEC) (rapporteur Lulling Astrid) - adopted in
first reading on 6.05.2009, Council reached political agreement on a Council position on
1.12.2009. This legislative proposal is subject to automatic renumbering - new legal basis:
Art 157 (3) of the TFEU (former legal basis Art. 141(3) of the TEC).
Delegated/implemented acts
The former comitology sytem is replaced now with:
 delegated acts (article 290 TFEU) procedure which is similar to some extent to the
former regulatory procedure with scrutiny, and
 implementing acts (article 291 TFEU) procedure which is similar to the former
comitology procedures other than the regulatory procedure with scrutiny.
It should be noted that an act classified as delegated act cannot be classified as implementing
act and viceversa.
The main difference is that in the case of delegated acts (article 290 of TFEU), the legislator
can confer in each legislative act the power on the Commission to adopt non-legislative acts
of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of the
legislative act. The legislative act shall explicitly define the objectives, content, scope and
duration of the delegation of power and may as well lay down the conditions to which the
delegation is subject. There are no limitations imposed on the co-legislators by the Treaty. A
non binding standard wording that can be used by the committee when drafting such
provisions is currently being assessed by the competent services of the three institutions.
As for the implementing acts, they concern the case where uniform conditions for
implementing in the Member States legally binding acts are needed. For the application of this
Treaty provision, a regulation should be adopted in accordance with the ordinary legislative
procedure to establish the rules and mechanism of control by the Member States (article 291
of the TFEU). In order not to block the legislative work until the adoption of the respective
regulation, an interim agreement between the three institutions should soon be agreed.
In the meantime the former decision on comitology continues to apply, with the exception of
the regulatory procedure with scrutiny which is not longer applicable (replaced by the
procedure of delegated acts).
Subsidiarity scrutiny by national parliaments
General aspects
The subsidiarity scrutiny by national Parliaments operates with regard to all legislative
procedures from the Commission (as well as to request and initiatives from Member States or
the institutions) for the adoption of an act where the EU shares competences with the Member
This mechanism starts at the beginning of the legislative procedure, the Commission proposal
being submitted at the same time to the national parliaments and to the Council and the
Parliament. Since this moment the national parliaments have eight weeks to react and during
this period no formal position can be adopted by the Council or the Parliament. The
subsidiarity scrutiny is a condition of validity of the acts (non compliance may constitute an
According to the Rules of procedure (Rule 38a), the committee responsible should not
proceed to its final vote on a proposal for a legislative act before the expiry of the deadline of
eight weeks, except in cases of urgency as laid down in the Treaty.
The national parliaments may send a reasoned opinion on the compliance of a draft legislative
act with the subsidiarity principle - in this case a specific procedure should be followed
(Protocol no. 2 annexed to the Treaty, rule 38a of the Rules of Procedure).
Specific consequences
 COD/2008/0193 (rapporteur Estrela Edite) - scheduled for adoption in committee on
23/02/2010, foreseen for plenary on the 24-25/03/2009 - Since the proposal has been
already communicated to national parliaments in 2008, there are no specific consequences
concerning the subsidiarity scrutiny mechanism in this case (deadline of 8 weeks).
Consultation of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the
Committee of the Regions (COR)
For several legal bases, the TFEU provides that the Economic and Social Committee and/or
the Committee of the Regions must be consulted by Parliament and the Council when acting
in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure. From now on, Parliament will have also
the obligation to consult the respective committees (previously it was done by the Council).
According to rules 124 and 125 of the Rules of Procedure, when there is such a provision in
the Treaty, the President shall initiate the consultation procedure and inform Parliament
For the FEMM committee of particular interest might be the provisions of articles 153 (2)
second subparagraph and article 157(3) of the TFEU which provide for the consultation of
both the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions in the first case
and only of the Economic and Social Committee in the second case.
For COD/2008/0193 (rapporteur Estrela Edite) the consultation procedure of both EESC and
COR has been fulfilled. As for COD/2008/0192 (rapporteur Lulling Astrid), the EESC also
has issued its opinion (the COR consultation is not provided by the Treaty in this case).