Nic Dakin MP

Standing up for Local People

Jessica's Blog: EU Structure


There are five bodies that run the European Union. These are:

  • European Parliament
  • Council of the Union
  • European Commission
  • Court of Justice
  • Court of Auditors

European Parliament

The European Parliament is a directly elected group of 751 members from all member states. The amount of members from each state depends on the population of it. The election for the European Parliament are held every five years.

The three main responsibilities are legislative, supervisory and budgetary. They pass laws and establish the budget while working with the Council of the Union.

Their work comes from two mains stages- committees and summary voting sessions.

Council of the Union

The Council of the European Union was formed in 1958 and is the voice of the member governments. They adopt EU laws and coordinate policies.

It’s formed from government ministers from each country and changes depending on the policy area being discussed. The presidency of the Council rotates around each member state every six months.

They also work with the European Parliament to pass laws and to form the budget. The Council also develops the foreign and security policy of the EU, coordinates the policies of member states. They also conclude agreements between EU, other countries or international organisations.

European Commission

The European Commission is a politically independent executive part of the EU. It’s made up of a team of commissioners- one from each EU country.

The Commissions functions include proposing new laws that protect the interests of the EU and its citizens on issues that can’t be dealt with effectively at a national level and getting technical details right by checking with the public and experts.

Another function is to set the spending priorities along with the Council and Parliament. They draw up annual budgets to be approved and supervises how the money is spent.

They also work with the Court of Justice to ensure that EU law is applied correctly in member states and to represent the EU. They speak of the behalf of the EU in international bodies and negotiates international agreements.

Court of Justice

The Court of Justice works to interpret EU law to ensure that it is applied the same way in all countries and to settle legal disputes between national governments and EU institutions. The most common cases brought before it are ones involving: interpreting the law, enforcing the law, annulling EU acts, ensuring EU takes action and sanctioning EU institutions.

The Court is split into three bodies who are the Court of Justice, the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal. Each judge and advocate general is appointed for 6 years on a renewable term and in each Court, the judges select a president for a term of 3 years.

Each court has a different formation. In the Court of Justice there are 1 judge from each EU country and 11 advocates general. The General Court composes of 1 judge from each EU country and the Civil Service Tribunal composes of 7 judges.

Court of Auditors

The Court of Auditors is the EU's independent external auditor who looks after the interests of the EU taxpayers. The Court of Auditors composes of 1 member from each member country.

It has no legal powers but instead works to improve the European Commission’s management of the budget reports on the finances of the EU. They check all EU funds are collected and correctly used and help to improve financial management.

They carry out three types of audit. These are financial, compliance and performance. Each audit group is divided into groups called chambers who prepare reports and opinions for Court members to adopt and make official.



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