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EU Institutions

25 september 2012
by

Robert Gaudet

on 28 September 2012

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Transcript of EU Institutions

4. Institutions of the European Union This week: 7 Institutions European Council European Council broad political priorities and major initiatives heads of government or state about 4 meetings a year, Brussels permanent president - 2012-2014: Herman Van Rompuy - 2009-2012: Herman Van Rompuy Council of the European Union European Council Council of the EU Council of Europe Council (of Ministers) Ministers of MSs, depending on topic Chair depends on rotating presidency except for foreign Minister's meeting = High Representative for foreign and security policy IRELAND holds the presidency from January - June 2013! European Parliament - Pass laws: from consultation to cooperation to codecision to ordinary legislative procedure - Monitor: ask Qs, appoint Ombudsman - Budget European Parliament European Commission Court of Justice Court of Auditors European Central Bank European Commission Court of Justice of the EU Court of Auditors European Central Bank Commissioners; tasks divided over DGs President José Manuel Durão Barroso Enforce EU law Evaluate application Propose legislation Day-to-day work: administrators, lawyers, economists, translators, interpreters, secretarial staff, etc. Brussels & Strasbourg 8 advocates-general: opinions
(Art. 252 TFEU) Consists of 3 different courts (Art. 19 (1) TEU): - Specialised Courts - European Court of Justice (ECJ) - General Court (formerly known as CFI) direct actions brought by natural or legal persons against European Union
actions brought by the Member States against the Commission;
actions brought by the Member States against the Council relating to acts adopted in the field of State aid, ‘dumping' and acts by which it exercises implementing powers;
actions seeking compensation for damage caused by the institutions of the European Union or their staff; actions based on contracts made by the European Union which expressly give jurisdiction to the General Court;
actions relating to Community trade marks;
appeals, limited to points of law, against the decisions of the European Union Civil Service Tribunal;
actions brought against decisions of the Community Plant Variety Office or of the European Chemicals Agency. Jurisdiction General Court The Court has jurisdiction over disputes in first instance between the European Union and its servants pursuant to Article 270 TFEU, regarding working relations in the strict sense (pay, career progress, recruitment, disciplinary measures etc.) and social security system issues (sickness, old age, invalidity, accidents at work, family allowances etc.). Jurisdiction Civil Service Tribunal If a national court is in doubt about the interpretation or validity of an EU law, it may – and sometimes must – ask the Court of Justice for advice, a ‘preliminary ruling’. European Court of Justice The Treaty requires Parliament, the Council and the Commission to make certain decisions under certain circumstances. If they fail to do so, member states, other Community institutions and (under certain conditions) individuals or companies can lodge a complaint with the Court so as to have this failure to act officially recorded. Preliminary rulings: If any private individual, EU country, the Council, the Commission or (under certain conditions) Parliament believes that a particular EU law is illegal, it may ask the Court to annul it. Actions for annulment The Commission can start these proceedings if it believes that a member state is failing to fulfill its obligations under EU law. These proceedings may also be started by another EU country. If the Court finds that the country has not followed its ruling, it can issue a fine. Proceedings for failure to fulfill an obligation Actions for failure to act Direct actions Any person or company who has suffered damage as a result of the action or inaction of the Community or its staff can bring an action seeking compensation before the General Court. Check handling EU funds inspects institutions, MSs and
countries receiving EU aid Luxembourg, 800 staff Tasks: - annual report - opinion on EU financial legislation and
how to help the EU fight fraud - carry out inspections - President Vítor Manuel da Silva Caldeira Frankfurt, Germany European System of Central Banks (ESCB):
ECB and 27 national central banks Tasks: - manages euro - safeguards price stability - framing and implementing economic & monetary policy President: - 2011- present: Mario Draghi President: 2012- present Martin Schultz Other institutions 1. 2. 3. 5. 6. 7. European Economic and
Social Committee Committee of the Regions Representation Specialisation Decentralised Agencies (Eurofound) represents civil society,
employers and employees represents regional and
local authorities Safeguards European Ombudsman investigates complaints about mal-administration by EU institutions and bodies European Data Protection Supervisor safeguards the privacy of people’s personal data International Relations High Representative of the Union
for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy European External Action Service (Catherine Ashton) European Convention on Human Rights European Court of Human Rights EU institutions Article 13 TEU 1. The Union shall have an institutional framework which shall aim to promote its values, advance its objectives, serve its interests, those of its citizens and those of the Member States, and ensure the consistency, effectiveness and continuity of its policies and actions. The Union’s institutions shall be:— the European Parliament,— the European Council,— the Council,— the European Commission (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Commission’),— the Court of Justice of the European Union,— the European Central Bank,— the Court of Auditors. 2. Each institution shall act within the limits of the powers conferred on it in the Treaties, and in conformity with the procedures, conditions and objectives set out in them. The institutions shall practice mutual sincere cooperation.

3. The provisions relating to the European Central Bank and the Court of Auditors and detailed provisions on the other institutions are set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

4. The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission shall be assisted by an Economic and Social Committee and a Committee of the Regions acting in an advisory capacity. Article 15 TEU 1. 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.

2. The European Council shall consist of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States, together with its President and the President of the Commission. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy shall take part in its work.

3. The European Council shall meet twice every six months, convened by its President. When the agenda so requires, the members of the European Council may decide each to be assisted by a minister and, in the case of the President of the Commission, by a member of the Commission. When the situation so requires, the President shall convene a special meeting of the European Council.

4. Except where the Treaties provide otherwise, decisions of the European Council shall be taken by consensus. 5. The European Council shall elect its President, by a qualified majority, for a term of two and a half years, renewable once. In the event of an impediment or serious misconduct, the European Council can end the President’s term of office in accordance with the same procedure.

6. The President of the European Council:
(a) shall chair it and drive forward its work;
(b) shall ensure the preparation and continuity of the work of the European Council in cooperation with the President of the Commission, and on the basis of the work of the General Affairs Council;
(c) shall endeavour to facilitate cohesion and consensus within the European Council;
(d) shall present a report to the European Parliament after each of the meetings of the European Council.

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.

The President of the European Council shall not hold a national office. initiates Treaty changes via IGC
concluding resolutions provide framework for policy development Why does European Council exist when MSs are already represented in Council (of Ministers)? Represents national interests Committee of permanent representatives Votes to prove almost all Commission legislation Article 16 TEU Article 241 TFEU College of Commissioners
& Commission Bureaucracy Decisions (State Aid, Competition Law) Article 14 & 17 TEU Article 258 TFEU 1.The Council shall, jointly with the European Parliament, exercise legislative and budgetary functions. It shall carry out policy-making and coordinating functions as laid down in the Treaties.

2.The Council shall consist of a representative of each Member State at ministerial level, who may commit the government of the Member State in question and cast its vote.

3.The Council shall act by a qualified majority except where the Treaties provide otherwise.

4.As from 1 November 2014, a qualified majority shall be defined as at least 55 % of the members of the Council, comprising at least fifteen of them and representing Member States comprising at least 65 % of the population of the Union.

A blocking minority must include at least four Council members, failing which the qualified majority shall be deemed attained.

The other arrangements governing the qualified majority are laid down in Article 238(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5.The transitional provisions relating to the definition of the qualified majority which shall be applicable until 31 October 2014 and those which shall be applicable from 1 November 2014 to 31 March 2017 are laid down in the Protocol on transitional provisions.

6.The Council shall meet in different configurations, the list of which shall be adopted in accordance with Article 236 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The General Affairs Council shall ensure consistency in the work of the different Council configurations. It shall prepare and ensure the follow-up to meetings of the European Council, in liaison with the President of the European Council and the Commission.

The Foreign Affairs Council shall elaborate the Union's external action on the basis of strategic guidelines laid down by the European Council and ensure that the Union's action is consistent.

7.A Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States shall be responsible for preparing the work of the Council.

8.The Council shall meet in public when it deliberates and votes on a draft legislative act. To this end, each Council meeting shall be divided into two parts, dealing respectively with deliberations on Union legislative acts and non-legislative activities.

9.The Presidency of Council configurations, other than that of Foreign Affairs, shall be held by Member State representatives in the Council on the basis of equal rotation, in accordance with the conditions established in accordance with Article 236 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The Council, acting by a simple majority, may request the Commission to undertake any studies the Council considers desirable for the attainment of the common objectives, and to submit to it any appropriate proposals. If the Commission does not submit a proposal, it shall inform the Council of the reasons. Art. 16 TEU Art. 16 TEU Art. 241 TEU Art. 14 TEU 1.The European Parliament shall, jointly with the Council, exercise legislative and budgetary functions. It shall exercise functions of political control and consultation as laid down in the Treaties. It shall elect the President of the Commission. Art. 17 TEU 1.The Commission shall promote the general interest of the Union and take appropriate initiatives to that end. It shall ensure the application of the Treaties, and of measures adopted by the institutions pursuant to them. It shall oversee the application of Union law under the control of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It shall execute the budget and manage programmes. It shall exercise coordinating, executive and management functions, as laid down in the Treaties. With the exception of the common foreign and security policy, and other cases provided for in the Treaties, it shall ensure the Union's external representation. It shall initiate the Union's annual and multiannual programming with a view to achieving interinstitutional agreements.

2.Union legislative acts may only be adopted on the basis of a Commission proposal, except where the Treaties provide otherwise. Other acts shall be adopted on the basis of a Commission proposal where the Treaties so provide.

3.The Commission's term of office shall be five years.

The members of the Commission shall be chosen on the ground of their general competence and European commitment from persons whose independence is beyond doubt.


In carrying out its responsibilities, the Commission shall be completely independent. Without prejudice to Article 18(2), the members of the Commission shall neither seek nor take instructions from any Government or other institution, body, office or entity. They shall refrain from any action incompatible with their duties or the performance of their tasks.

4.The Commission appointed between the date of entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and 31 October 2014, shall consist of one national of each Member State, including its President and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who shall be one of its Vice-Presidents.

5.As from 1 November 2014, the Commission shall consist of a number of members, including its President and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, corresponding to two thirds of the number of Member States, unless the European Council, acting unanimously, decides to alter this number.

The members of the Commission shall be chosen from among the nationals of the Member States on the basis of a system of strictly equal rotation between the Member States, reflecting the demographic and geographical range of all the Member States. This system shall be established unanimously by the European Council in accordance with Article 244 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

6.The President of the Commission shall:

(a)lay down guidelines within which the Commission is to work;

(b)decide on the internal organisation of the Commission, ensuring that it acts consistently, efficiently and as a collegiate body;

(c)appoint Vice-Presidents, other than the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, from among the members of the Commission.

A member of the Commission shall resign if the President so requests. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy shall resign, in accordance with the procedure set out in Article 18(1), if the President so requests.


7.Taking into account the elections to the European Parliament and after having held the appropriate consultations, the European Council, acting by a qualified majority, shall propose to the European Parliament a candidate for President of the Commission. This candidate shall be elected by the European Parliament by a majority of its component members. If he does not obtain the required majority, the European Council, acting by a qualified majority, shall within one month propose a new candidate who shall be elected by the European Parliament following the same procedure.

The Council, by common accord with the President-elect, shall adopt the list of the other persons whom it proposes for appointment as members of the Commission. They shall be selected, on the basis of the suggestions made by Member States, in accordance with the criteria set out in paragraph 3, second subparagraph, and paragraph 5, second subparagraph.

The President, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the other members of the Commission shall be subject as a body to a vote of consent by the European Parliament. On the basis of this consent the Commission shall be appointed by the European Council, acting by a qualified majority.

8.The Commission, as a body, shall be responsible to the European Parliament. In accordance with Article 234 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Parliament may vote on a motion of censure of the Commission. If such a motion is carried, the members of the Commission shall resign as a body and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy shall resign from the duties that he carries out in the Commission. Art. 258 TFEU If the Commission considers that a Member State has failed to fulfil an obligation under the Treaties, it shall deliver a reasoned opinion on the matter after giving the State concerned the opportunity to submit its observations.

If the State concerned does not comply with the opinion within the period laid down by the Commission, the latter may bring the matter before the Court of Justice of the European Union. Art. 15 TEU Art. 15 TEU ...but see article 17 (7) TEU Article 14 TEU 750 seats total: min. 6, max. 96 Can Germany have 99 and Malta 5? Political groups - 7 now Article 224 establish rules for political parties and funding Jurisdiction: Art. 251 - 281 "It shall ensure that in the interpretation and application of the Treaties the law is observed." The Court of Justice of the European Union shall, in accordance with the Treaties:
(a) rule on actions brought by a Member State, an institution or a natural or legal person;
(b) give preliminary rulings, at the request of courts or tribunals of the Member States, on the interpretation of Union law or the validity of acts adopted by the institutions;
(c) rule in other cases provided for in the Treaties. Art. 19 (3) TEU & EU Civil Service Tribunal One person from each MS
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