The politics of the European Union

The EU has no boss. The EU instead consists of a number of organizations. These are the European Commission, European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the European Council, the European Court of Justice and the European Court. Every organization has its own responsibilities and powers. The EU is based in Brussels. This is where most meetings are held and decisions are made.


European Commission

Zaal van het Europees Parlement in Straatsburg
The hall of the European Parliament in Strasbourg

The Commission is the daily management of the EU. The committee executes policies and verifies that every country follows the rules. The Commission also invents new European laws. These laws have to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. During international meetings the European Commission negotiates as a spokesperson for the EU. Every country has a representative in the Commission. This representative is called an EU commissioner. The European commissioners are committed to the interests of the entire European Union, not only to those of their own country. Every six months a different Member State is the chairman of the Commission. 

European Parliament

EU parlement Brussel
The building of the
European Parliament in Brussels


The people who have a seat in the European Parliament are directly elected by the people in their own country. These people control the activities of the EU. They assess the European laws and the budget after they are devised by the European Commission. Together with the Council of Ministers the Parliament decides whether she passes legislation. The European Parliament (EP) represents almost half a billion Europeans, and since July 14, 2009 it consists of 736 delegates.


Council of Ministers

The Council of the European Union, which is usually called the Council of Ministers, is composed of government representatives from 27 countries. The Council monitors the European Commission and works together with the Parliament on legislation and budget decisions. The Council also decides on foreign and security policies.

European Council

The European Council is an other council than the the Council of Ministers: it is the meeting of the Heads of all European countries. Together they determine the political direction of the EU. The European Council is headed by the President of the European Commission.

European Court of Justice

The judicial power of the EU lies with the Court of Justice. It makes rulings in litigation and ensures that European laws are applied properly.

ECA

Vlag van de EU
The EU flag

The ECA was established in 1977 to control the budget of the European Community. It checks the spendings of the EU.