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EU institutions. TUE Article 13. The Union’s institutions shall be : the European Parliament the European Council the Council the European Commission the Court of Justice of the European Union the European Central Bank the Court of Auditors.

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EU institutions

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tue article 13
TUEArticle 13
  • The Union’s institutions shallbe:
  • the EuropeanParliament
  • the EuropeanCouncil
  • the Council
  • the European Commission
  • the Court of Justice of the EuropeanUnion
  • the European Central Bank
  • the Court of Auditors
3 main institutions instiutionnal triangle
3 main institutions= « instiutionnal triangle »
  • the Council (and the European Council), which represents the governments of the individual member countries
  • TheEuropean Commission, which represents the interests of the Union as a whole
  • The EuropeanParliament, which represents the EU’s citizens and is directly elected by them
the council european council
The Council & European Council

Intergovernmentallegitimacy / represent national interests

Major distinction between the 2 councils :

  • The Council:existssince the EEC

= The legislator (unique, to beginwith)

  • The EuropeanCouncil:first meetings in 1961, institutionalized in 1974, mentioned in the treatysince the SEA (1986), recognized as an institution since the Lisbontreaty (2007)
the council
The Council
  • Composition: a representative of each MS atministeriallevel (whocan commit the government)
  • Different configurations (9) amongwhich: General & foreignAffairs Council, ECOFIN, Employment & Social Policy Council.
  • Presidencyheld by each MS in turn for 6 months
coreper committee of permanent representatives
COREPERCommittee of PermanentRepresentatives
  • Composed of senior national officers
  • Prepares the work of the Council (works on draftsproposals made by the Commission)
  • Only the mostdifficult issues remainunsolvedwhen the Council meets
powers of the council
Powers of the Council
  • Legislator: approval of Commission proposals => law (if the Parliament also agrees in co-decision)

+ May request the Commission to submit proposals, and may delegate powers to the Commission to pass legislation in a particular field

  • Executive functions
  • External relations
  • Draft the budget and decides (with the Parliament)
votes at the council
Votes at the Council
  • « Qualified » majority or unanimity
  • Notion of qualifiedmajority

Original meaning = each state had a number of votes and a majority of votes wasrequired

SinceLisbon (but delayed to 2014): majority of States + majority of the population (65%)

the european council
The European Council
  • Composition: Heads of States or government + president of the Commission
  • SinceLisbon, a presidentiselected by qualifiedmajority for a 2 and a halfyearterm(renewable once). The presidentsits as anothermember of the Council
  • Meetsat least twice a year
the president of the european council
The president of the European Council
  • Chairs meetings of the Council
  • Ensurepreparation & continuity
  • Helps to ensurecohesion & consensus
  • Issues a report to the Parliamentaftereachsummit
any relationship problems
Anyrelationshipproblems ?
  • Whatis the relationship of the presidents and member states? What about the Council intergovernmentallegitimacy? Whatkind the relationshipwith the Council of ministers?
  • Interaction with the Commission and itspresident? Cooperation or competition (cf. agenda setting role)?
  • Interaction with the High representative for the Union foreignaffairs and securitypolicy?
high representative for the union foreign affairs
High representative for the Union foreignaffairs
  • Created by the Lisbontreaty
  • Externalrepresentation of the EU, conductsdiplomacy
  • Vice president of the Commission and runs the External relations Directorate General
  • Chairs the external relations Council

= « double hat » (more integrated and coordinatedpolicy) / shouldbethe face of the Unionat the international level

mission powers of the european council
Mission/powers of the European Council

The European Council provides the necessaryimpetus for the development of the Union and definesgeneralpolitical guidelines

= « defines the directions and priorities »

-> Decides of Intergovermentalconferences (IGC = summits) to amendtreaties = affirms the consequentialtreaty changes

-> Launchesideas of policystrategies

-> Intervenes in external relations (new accessions)

limits of the european council powers
Limits of the European Council powers

Adoptsconcludingresolutionsbut no law


(resolutions have to go through the legislativeprocess)

the european commission
TheEuropean Commission
  • Integrativelegitimacy / The most important political force for integration
  • Composition

-> 27 members / one per MS

-> Lisbonreform (in force in 2014): 18 commissionersonly (rotation) to ensure administrative efficiency (v. representation of member states)

  • Council meeting as heads of states nominates the person to be the president (qualifiedmajority)
  • Council in accord with the nominee for presidentadopts a list of proposedcommissioners (based on MS’sproposals)
  • EuropeanParliamentapproval of the president & commissioners (hearings)
  • Appointment by the Council
organization of the commission
Organization of the Commission
  • President: decides on internalorganization and on priorities
  • Commission structuredthroughDirectorates General for eachsphere of competence (agriculture, competition, eco & financialaffairs). Theyinitiatelegislativeproposals.
powers of the commission
Powers of the Commission
  • Initiative power = initiatelegislation

= « motor of the integration »

  • Monitoring power

= « the watchdog », ensuresthat the treaty and otheracts are properlyapplied

  • Brings actions againstmember states to the Court of Justice, maybring action in case of failure to act by other institutions
other powers
  • Executive (ensuresimplementation, adoptsregulations)
  • Establishment of the budget
  • External relations (determines & conducts the EU externaltrade relations)
the european parliament
The EuropeanParliament



Every 5 years, in Member states (lowturnout and declining, 43% in 2009)


MEPs for each country (in proportion to its population)

Total: 736 membersrepresenting 500 millions citizens

Lisbon Treaty: no country can have fewer than 6 or more than 96 MEPs.

MEPs are grouped bypolitical affiliation, not by nationality.

powers of the european parliament
Powers of the EuropeanParliament
  • Legislator,together with the Council
  • Scrutinising other EU institutions, particularly the Commission, to make sure they are working democratically
  • Debating and adopting the EU's budget, togetherwith the Council.
the parliament as a legislator
The Parliament as a legislator
  • Decideson the content of EU laws and adopts themwhen the « ordinarylegislativeprocedure » applies(ex "co-decision").
  • Lisbon Treaty: the range of policies covered by co-decision has increased
parliament s democratic supervision
Parliament’sdemocratic supervision
  • When a new Commission is appointed, its members cannot take up office until Parliament has approved them. If the Members of the European Parliament disapprove of a nominee, they can reject the entire slate.
  • Parliament can also call on the Commission to resign during its period in office (motion of censure)
  • Parliament keeps check on the Commission by examining reports it produces and by questioning Commissioners
  • MEPs look at petitions from citizens and sets up committees of inquiry.
  • When national leaders meet for European Council summits, Parliament gives its opinion on the topics on the agenda
other actions
Other actions
  • Parliament gives its permission for other important decisions, such as allowing new countries to join the EU
  • Budget:

Adoption with the Council of the European Union.

Parliament monitors the expenditure (through a committee)

  • The EU institutionalframeworkdoes not compare easilywith national ones
  • The relationshipbetween institutions are based on functionalcooperation (more thanpoliticalbounds)
  • The democraticlegitimacy of the whole system isquestionned