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Institutions

Institutions

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Institutions

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  1. Advanced EU Law 2013/2014 Institutions 2nd lecture, 5November2013

  2. The Institutions Listed in Article 13 TEU: • European Parliament • European Council • Councilof the European Union (EU Council) • Commission • Court of Justice of the European Union • European Central Bank • Court of Auditors • In addition: Social and EconomicCommittee, Committee of Regions

  3. EU Parliament(art. 14 TEU):Composition • Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) represent the Union’s citizens and sit according to political group, rather than nationality • Members: 750 representatives + the President (number of members for each country varies depending on the population’s size) • Directly elected by EU voters every 5 years (however a uniform electoral procedure -originally envisaged- for all the Mb States has not been created yet • The Parliament elects its own President and 14 Vice-Presidents for 2 and a half year terms; together they form the Bureau of Parliament (responsible for the Parliament’s budget, administrative and organizational matters) • 20 standing committees on different matters (international trade, development, foreign affairs, industry, culture, agriculture, etc...) consider legislative proposal from the Commission; they adopt their own-initiative reports • Seat: Strasbourg + Secretariat in Luxembourg and a seat in Brussels

  4. EU Parliament (Art. 14 TEU):Powers • Four main powers: • Legislative power: debating and adopting European legislation, together with the Council; • Supervisory power: scrutinising other EU institutions, to make sure they are working democratically; • Dismissal and appointment power: censure the Commission’s accountability and participate in the Commission’s appointment; • Budgetary Power: debating and adopting the EU's budget, with the Council • Gradual transformation: from a relatively powerless body to a strengthened institution

  5. Evolution of decision-making • SEA (1986): cooperation procedure involved the EP’s participation • TEU (1992): co-decision procedure, it made the EP a co-equal partner with the Council in the area where it applied (art. 251 former TEC) • Lisbon Treaty (2009): co-decision becomes the ‘ordinary legislative procedure’: Parliament works together with the Council to decide on the content of EU laws and officially adopt them (art. 289 TFEU and art. 294 TFEU) • Under the Lisbon Treaty, the range of policies covered by the new ordinary legislative procedure has increased (giving Parliament more power to influence the content of laws in areas such as agriculture, energy policy, immigration and EU funds) • Parliament must also give its permission for other important decisions, such as allowing new countries to join the EU

  6. European Council (art. 15 TEU) • The European Council began to meet informally in the 60s and 70s as a forum for discussion between EU heads of States or Governments • Institutionalized in 1992, in 2009 it became one of the EU’s 7 official institutions • Today: European Council meetings are essentially summits where EU leaders meet to decide on broad political priorities and major initiatives (twice every 6 months chaired by a permanent president) • Composition: • Heads of State or Government of the Member States • President (elected by the European Council for 2 and a half years) • President of the Commission • + the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy shall take part in its work (art. 15)

  7. European Council (art. 15 TEU):role • The European Council shall provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development and shall define the general political directions and priorities thereof. It shall not exercise legislative functions (Art. 15.1) • Main role: to set general political direction and priorities, and dealing with complex or sensitive issues that cannot be resolved at a lower level of intergovernmental cooperation • Decision are taken by consensus except if the Treaties provide otherwise • The President of the European Council shall, at his level and in that capacity, ensure the external representation of the Union on issues concerning its common foreign and security policy, without prejudice to the powers of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (art. 18 TEU)

  8. Council of the European Union (art. 16 TEU) • The Council of the European Union (Council) is the institution where national ministers from each EU country meet to adopt legislation and coordinate policies • Composition: a representative of each Member State at ministerial level • Meetings: when are convened by the President, or requested by one of its Members, or at the request of the Commission • There are no fixed members as such. At each Council meeting, each country sends the competent minister (minister for the policy field being discussed) – General Affairs Council and thematic councils (e.g. "Environment Council”) • They represent national interests of the Member States

  9. Council of the European Union (art. 16 TEU): Powers • The Council exercises jointly with the Parliament legislative and budgetary functions. • In addition, it carries out policy-making and coordinating functions as laid down in the Treaties: • coordinates the broad economic policies of EU member countries • develops the EU's foreign and defence policies (art. 24 and 26 TEU) • Signs agreements between the EU and other countries

  10. Council of the European Union (art. 16 TEU): voting • The Council adopts legislation by the qualified majority vote • Votes are weighed according to the population’size • A qualified majority is reached when: - a majority (sometimes even two thirds) of the 28 EU countries vote in favour • at least 255 of the possible 345 votes are cast • Furthermore, a member country can ask for a check to see whether the majority represents minimum 62% of the total population. If this is not the case, the proposal cannot be adopted • Decisions in sensitive areas, like security or externalaffairs, shall be adopted by unanimity

  11. European Commission(art. 17 TEU) • The European Commission represents and upholds the interests of the EU as a whole • It drafts proposals for new European laws • It manages the day-to-day business of implementing EU policies and spending EU funds (executive powers) • Composition: 28 Commissioners, one from each EU country, provide the Commission’s political leadership during their 5-year term. Each Commissioner is assigned responsibility for specific policy areas by the President. • ThePresident is proposed by the European Council and elected by the Parliament. The other Commissioners are elected, in agreement with the President accord, through a vote of consent by the Parliament.

  12. European Commission (art. 17 TEU): powers • Legislative power: 'right of initiative’ Union legislative acts may only be adopted on the basis of a Commission proposal, except where the Treaties provide otherwise (Art. 17.2 TEU) • Executive power: • manages the EU's budget and allocates funding • enforces EU law: the Commission brings actions against Member States when they are in breach of EU law • represents the EU internationally, for example, by negotiating agreements between the EU and other countries • Administrative power: management of policies and programmes

  13. Court of Justice of the European Union (art 19 TEU) • The Court of Justice of the European Union is composed by: the Court of Justice, General Court and specialised courts (art. 19 TEU) • its mission is to ensure that ‘the law is observed’‘in the interpretation and application’ of the Treaties • Composition of the Court of Justice: one judge from each Member State, assisted by Advocates-General (8) • Composition of the General Court: at least one judge per Member State

  14. Court of Justice of the European Union (art 19 TEU): Role The Court of Justice of the European Union: • reviews the legality of the acts of the institutions of the European Union • ensures that the Member States comply with obligations under the Treaties • interprets European Union law upon request of national courts and tribunals

  15. Court of Justice of the European Union (art 19 TEU): 5 kind of Rulings • Requests for a preliminary ruling – when national courts ask the Court of Justice to interpret a point of EU law • Actions for failure to fulfil an obligation – brought against EU governments for not applying EU law • Actions for annulment – against EU laws allegedly violating the EU treaties or fundamental rights • Actions for failure to act – against EU institutions for failing to make decisions when required • Direct actions –any individual, company or organisation who has suffered damage as a result of the action or inaction of the Union or its staff can bring an action seeking compensation

  16. Legislation and decision-making:Adoption of the acts Ordinary legislative procedure Special legislative procedure Art. 289.2 TFEU: specific cases provided for by the Treaties the adoption of a regulation, directive or decision by the European Parliament with the participation of the Council, or by the latter with the participation of the European Parliament Important role of the Council exercised through its voting (unanimity or qualified majority) • Pre-Lisbon: cooperation and co-decision, + otherforms • Post-Lisbon: Co-decisionis the ordinary legislative procedure • Art. 294 TFEU Steps: • Commissionsubmits a proposal • First reading • Second reading • Conciliation • Thirdreading The logic behind: - Dialogue - Compromise - More democratic procedure