EU institutions and other bodies

In the EU's unique institutional set-up: • the EU's broad priorities are set by the European Council, which brings together national and

• • •

EU-level leaders directly elected MEPs represent European citi ens in the European Parlia!ent the interests o" the EU as a whole are pro!oted by the European Co!!ission, whose !e!bers are appointed by national govern!ents govern!ents de"end their own country's national interests in the Council o" the European Union#

Setting the agenda
$he European Council sets the EU's overall political direction % but has no powers to pass laws# &ed by its President % currently 'er!an (an )o!puy % and co!prising national heads o" state or govern!ent and the President o" the Co!!ission, it !eets "or a "ew days at a ti!e at least every * !onths#

$here are + !ain institutions involved in EU legislation:

• •

the European Parlia!ent, which represents the EU,s citi ens and is directly elected by the!the Council o" the European Union, which represents the govern!ents o" the individual !e!ber countries# $he Presidency o" the Council is shared by the !e!ber states on a rotating basis#

the European Co!!ission, which represents the interests o" the Union as a whole#

$ogether, these three institutions produce through the ./rdinary &egislative Procedure. 0e1 .codecision.2 the policies and laws that apply throughout the EU# In principle, the Co!!ission proposes new laws, and the Parlia!ent and Council adopt the!# $he Co!!ission and the !e!ber countries then i!ple!ent the!, and the Co!!ission ensures that the laws are properly applied and i!ple!ented# 3ecision-!a4ing in the EU % !ore on EU law-!a4ing procedures &ist o" Presidencies o" the Council o" the EU % 5677-5656

Other EU institutions
$wo other institutions play vital roles:

• •

the Court o" 8ustice o" the EU upholds the rule o" European law the Court o" 9uditors chec4s the "inancing o" the EU's activities#

an4 is responsible "or European !onetary policy the European E1ternal 9ction <ervice 0EE9<2 assists the 'igh )epresentative o" the Union "or =oreign 9""airs and <ecurity Policy.$he powers and responsibilities o" all o" these institutions are laid down in the $reaties. !"# The Parliament is currently composed of $%%members. scienti"ic and !anage!ent tas4s European Parliament The European Parliament (abbreviated as Europarl or the EP) is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union (EU). and rati"ied by their parlia!ents# $he EU has a nu!ber o" other institutions and interinstitutional bodies that play specialised roles: • • the European Central .an4 "inances EU invest!ent pro>ects and helps s!all businesses through the European Invest!ent =und the European /!buds!an investigates co!plaints about !alad!inistration by EU institutions and bodies the European 3ata Protection <upervisor sa"eguards the privacy o" people. Together with the Council of the European Union (the Council) and the European Commission. it e ercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described (by its own members) as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world. e!ployers and e!ployees the Co!!ittee o" the )egions represents regional and local authorities the European Invest!ent . also ensuring the consistency and coordination o" the EU's e1ternal action# • • • • • • • • • the European Econo!ic and <ocial Co!!ittee represents civil society. .s personal data the Publications /""ice publishes in"or!ation about the EU the European Personnel <election /""ice recruits sta"" "or the EU institutions and other bodies the European <chool o" 9d!inistration provides training in speci"ic areas "or !e!bers o" EU sta"" a host o" specialised agencies and decentralised bodies handle a range o" technical. who represent the second largest democratic electorate in the world (after the Parliament of &ndia) and the largest trans'national democratic electorate in the world (($) million eligible voters in "**+). currently Catherine 9shton# <he chairs the =oreign 9""airs Council and conducts the co!!on "oreign and security policy. which are the "oundation o" everything the EU does# $hey also lay down the rules and procedures that the EU institutions !ust "ollow# $he $reaties are agreed by the presidents and:or pri!e !inisters o" all the EU countries.

&t can subse7uently force the Commission as a body to resign by adopting a motion of censure. 8inally. turnout at European Parliament elections has fallen consecutively at each election since that date. as most national parliaments of European Union member states do. -owever. since . is accountable to Parliament. elected in ?anuary "*. the two largest groups being the @roup of the European People:s Party (EPP) and the Progressive 5lliance of 2ocialists and >emocrats (2=>). and has been under )*. Parliament is the 6first institution6 of the EU (mentioned first in the treaties. Parliament elects the President of the Commission. &t li3ewise has e7ual control over the EU budget. 0u embourg is home to the administrative offices (the :@eneral 2ecretariat:). 5lthough the European Parliament has legislative power that the Council and Commission do not possess. ranging from +*. &n particular. 0u embourg and 2trasbourg (8rance). Turnout was under )*. of all European voters. having ceremonial precedence over all authority at European level). in .artin 2chul< (2=>).eetings of the whole Parliament (:plenary sessions:) ta3e place in 2trasbourg and in 1russels. -e presides over a multi'party chamber.4 out of "4 member states.". the e ecutive body of the EU. in 2lova3ia.+$+. it does not formally possess legislative initiative. The European Parliament has three places of wor3 A1russels (1elgium). Committee meetings are held in 1russels . in 0u embourg and 1elgium (where compulsory voting is used) to "*. theEuropean Commission. The last union'wide elections were the "**+ Parliamentary Elections.+++.&t has been directly elected every five years by universal suffrage since . Turnout in "**+ stood at /(. The President of the European Parliament (Parliament:s spea3er) is currently . . and shares e7ual legislative and budgetary powers with the Council (e cept in a few areas where the special legislative procedures apply). and approves (or re9ects) the appointment of the Commission as a whole.