In order to guarantee the promotion and defence of the European Union’s values, objectives and the interests of the member countries, the EU functions through a series of institutions that are the base for of everything the EU does.
According to the Article 13 of the Treaty on the European Union, there is a framework of the main 7 institutions that serve the EU within the limits established in the Treaty, and in line with the procedures, conditions and purposes stated on it. These are:
- The European Parliament acts with the Council of the European Union (see below) as a legislative body and both share the budgetary power. It exerts the democratic control over the institutions including the Commission, and approving the Commission members.
- The European Council does not legislate but gives the necessary political impetus for the development of the Union. It consists of the heads of the Member states and the Commission president
- The Council of the European Union (simply called ‘the Council’) acts with the EP as a legislature body and also shares with the EP the budgetary power. Ensures economic and social policy coordination and concludes international agreements. It gathers the ministers of a respective portfolio depending on the subject of their agenda.
- The European Commission is the executive body. It submits proposals for new legislation to the EP and the Council of the EU, implements policies, negotiates international agreements and ensures compliance with the European Law. The Commission members represent one Member state but are obliged to act independently and for the benefit of the Union.
- The European Central Bank determines the monetary policy of the Eurozone.
- The Court of Justice of the EU upholds the rule of the European Law and develops it further with its prejudicial decisions.
- The Court of Auditors is in charge of controlling all the financing activities of the EU.
Furthermore, there are other institutions and interinstitutional bodies that play specialised roles such the European External Action Service, the Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Ombudsman, the European Data Protection Supervisor or the European Investment Bank and many others, subcategorised in between interinstitutional bodies.
If you want to know more about all the institutions, click here.
Anonymous. Institutions and bodies. European Union. https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/institutions-bodies_en. Published May 22, 2018. Accessed May 17, 2019.
Anonymous. The EU in brief. European Union. https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/eu-in-brief_en. Published April 29, 2019. Accessed May 17, 2019.
Anonymous. About the EU. European Union. https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu_en. Published March 25, 2019. Accessed May 17, 2019.
European Central Bank. European Central Bank. https://www.ecb.europa.eu/home/html/index.en.html. Accessed May 17, 2019.
European Parliament. European Parliament. http://europarl.europa.eu/portal/en. Accessed May 17, 2019.
Home. ECA. https://www.eca.europa.eu/en/Pages/ecadefault.aspx. Accessed May 17, 2019.
Lex Access to European Union law. EUR. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/summary/glossary/eu_institutions.html. Accessed May 17, 2019.
Lex Access to European Union law. EUR. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:12012M017. Accessed May 17, 2019.
Publications Office of the European Union. Publications Office of the European Union. https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/715cfcc8-fa70-11e7-b8f5-4 01aa75ed71a1/language-en. Accessed May 17, 2019.
Special European Council (Art.50), 10 April 2019.
Consilium. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/european-council/. Published October 5, 2017. Accessed May 17, 2019.
The Council of the European Union. Consilium. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/council-eu/. Published October 5, 2017. Accessed May 17, 2019.
THE COURT OF JUSTICEOF THE EUROPEAN UNION. CURIA. https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/j_6/en/. Accessed May 17, 2019.
Written by Maria Blanca Escudero Fontan, trainee in the Direction of the Directorate B. Graduated with a BA in Translation and Interpretation (uVigo) and a Masters in International Studies (USC, Galicia).