Under the first pillar of the EU Treaty, the Commission has a monopoly on the right of legislative initiative, except in rare cases, such as Title IV on asylum/immigration policy and the implementation of Article 7 on the Member States' compliance with fundamental principles. What is more, the Commission can amend its proposal at any time (except during the conciliation stage) and withdraw it if the nature of it is changed. These prerogatives, together with the need for unanimity if a proposal is to be amended without the Commission's agreement, form the basis of the EU's decision-making structure. However, the balance may be upset if the legislator seeks to oblige the Commission to carry out a further review and then submit a legislative proposal by stipulating the content and date of such legislation. The same risk arises if the Council and the Parliament decide during the conciliation procedure to agree on a compromise solution, which involves the Commission's obligation to take action. Even non-legislative acts, such as the Council's conclusions containing instructions with regard to the Commission, can undermine its right of initiative. Council conclusions may interfere with the Commission's priorities.Sometimes in the case of some of the "atypical" instruments, the Council acts in breach of Article 218(2) of the Treaty (Commission's freedom of action) by giving its opinion on the allocation of human resources within the institution. This affects the internal mechanisms relating to strategic planning and activity-based management and results in unplanned administrative and budgetary costs. The European Council Conclusions are a more specific case as Article 4 of the Treaty on European Union sets out the EU's general policy guidelines. However, the situation has deteriorated somewhat because the Commission's role in this respect is being broadly interpreted. This has resulted in a greater number of requests being sent directly to the Commission or being directed to the Commission implicitly, such as when they are sent to a Council Committee.Three recent cases serve to illustrate what is becoming an increasingly common situation. During the December 17 Fisheries Council, the Presidency sought to avoid sidelining France by urging the Commission to restrict the scope and timetable for extending the fourth generation multi-annual guidance programme (MAGP IV). This involved a fishing fleet restructuring plan backed with a declaration...

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