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EU institutions explained
Transcript of EU institutions explained
EU’s equivalent of a civil service, it is an administrative body
Only body that can propose EU legislation & initiate policy
Form of cabinet government and an executive branch of the EU
Based in the Berlaymont building in Brussels
Submits proposals to the European Parliament and to the Council of Ministers, to be approved or rejected.
33 departments known as ‘Directorates-General’ as well as 11 Services
27 commissioners to head the Directorates-General (one from each country)
About 25,000 European civil servants,
Working languages: English, French & German
José Manuel Barroso
The European Parliament also supervises the European Commission and has the power to fire commissioners.
Based primarily in Brussels...
But moving to Strasbourg for one week every month.
Directly elected parliamentary institution
Second largest democratic electorate in the world (after India)
Largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world (275 million eligible voters in 2009).
736 MEPs (Members of the European Parliament)
Elected once every five years (last election in June 2009) by European citizens.
Bicameral legislative powers with the Council of Ministers but is generally considered to have less power than the Council.
This despite successive expansions in its power with each Treaty & having a direct mandate.
MEPs sit in political groupings, rather than along national lines.
The debating chamber, or 'hemicyle' in Strasbourg
Sometimes seen as the driving force behind European integration, but is ultimately under the control of member states who choose the possible candidates for the 27 commissioners (who are then voted upon by the European Parliament, after the election of the President, who is also proposed by the member states).
Commissioners are usually senior politicians, but they are expected to act in the general European interest, not to advocate the interests of their own country.
The President of the European Parliament (or speaker) is elected by the MEPs themselves
COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
Must agree on new legislation through ‘co-decision’ with the Parliament, except in certain areas of policy, such as common foreign policy.
In practice the Council of Ministers is seen as being more powerful than the parliament, although it is meant to hold half the power.
Its role in proposing ministers for the Commission brings this into question.
Primary (some would say supreme) decision-making body
Holds bicameral legislative power with the European Parliament
Represents national governments of member states, forming a kind of cabinet of cabinets
Composed of senior ministers from each member-state and varies according to the issue being debated. Ex: if health policy is on the agenda, each state will send its most senior health minister.
Chaired by a leading politician from the country holding the EU Presidency, which rotates on a six-monthly basis.
EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK
Based in Frankfurt
Issues the Euro
Powers have been increasing in the wake of the Eurozone crisis
The EU’s main legal body
Ensures that EU law is correctly implemented in member states
Each state contributes one judge - making 27 in all - although only 13 ever sit in session together.
Only major cases go to the full ECJ, others being heard by the General Court (formerly the Court of First Instance).
Warring parties have their cases presented to the judges by one of 11 advocates-general.
EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE
THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL
The regular meetings - also called summits - which bring together the EU countries' heads of state or government and their foreign ministers.
The president of the European Commission also attends (currently José Manuel Baroso).
Decisions taken at the European Council meetings have a major impetus in defining the EU's general political guidelines.
Convened at least four times a year, with meetings held in Brussels, presided over by its president.
Herman Van Rompuy