Eel regulation not yet in line with Lisbon Treaty

Published on September 25, 2020

The adoption of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2007 should have resulted in a revision of the Eel Regulation, incorporating changes in decision-making procedures and Commission powers. However, a Commission proposal to do so was never agreed upon and is now being withdrawn, leaving European eel without much needed ‘new’ Commission tools and proper scrutiny by the European Parliament.


In 2012, the Commission published a proposal (COM(2012)413) to amend the Eel Regulation (EC 1100/2007), in order to align it with the Lisbon Treaty and fulfil the new requirements of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), specifically articles 290 and 291 on delegated and implementing acts.


The proposal was considered in the European Parliament, resulting in the Lövin Report (A7-0242/2013). After that, the file has not moved forward and this year the Commission has announced that it intends to withdraw its 2012 proposal.


Two Members of the Parliament – Caroline Roose (France) and Grace O’Sullivan (Ireland) –therefore posed written Parliamentary questions (E-004198/2020) to the Commission, asking about which measures it intends to take to ensure the recovery of European eel and whether a new proposal will be presented. Their questions are supported by MEPs Rosa D’Amato (Italy) and Francisco Guerreiro (Portugal).


The parliamentary questions were answered by Commissioner Sinkevičius on behalf of the Commission on 14 September, essentially referring to the recent evaluation of the Eel Regulation and the need for better implementation, particularly of non-fisheries measures. It does not, however, address the issue of the Lisbon Treaty and the TFUE.


The 2012 proposal to amend the Eel regulation was a direct result of the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, which came into force two years after the Eel regulation was agreed. The Treaty sets out to improve the democratic functioning of the EU and strengthens the role of the European Parliament, for example, making it co-deciding with the Council on fisheries. As a result, all existing EU legislation had to be aligned with the new Treaty.

Lisbon Treaty background

The Lisbon Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Lisbon, sets out to ensure a higher level of parliamentary scrutiny and democratic accountability. It replaced the term ‘European Community’ by ‘European Union’, and hence renamed the ‘Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union’ (TFEU).

Among other things, it provided updated regulations for the European Union, establishing a more centralized leadership and foreign policy, a proper process for countries that wish to leave the Union, as well as a more streamlined process for enacting new policies.

The Lisbon Treaty changes the way the European Union exercises its existing powers and some new (shared) powers, by enhancing citizens’ participation and protection, creating a new institutional set-up and modifying the decision-making processes for increased efficiency and transparency.

In the Lisbon Treaty, the powers of the European Union are also clarified for the first time. It distinguishes three types of competences: 1) exclusive competence, where the Union alone can legislate, and Member States only implement; 2) shared competence, where the Member States can legislate and adopt legally binding measures if the Union has not done so; and 3) supporting competence, where the EU adopts measures to support or complement Member States’ policies.

For more information on the Lisbon Treaty: