Structure and functions of EU institutions and bodies
Structure and functions of EU institutions and bodies

The following Public Law practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Structure and functions of EU institutions and bodies
  • The EU’s unique institutional framework
  • European Parliament
  • Council of the European Union (the Council)
  • The voting system at the Council of the European Union—‘double majority’ voting rules
  • Council’s responsibilities
  • European Commission
  • Law-making
  • European Council
  • Court of Justice of the European Union
  • More...

The EU’s unique institutional framework

The European Union is a supranational polity, and is neither a country nor a federation like the United States or an organisation for co-operation between governments, like the United Nations. It is, in fact, unique. Its structure does not fall into any traditional legal category and owes its success to the unusual way it works.

The countries that make up the EU, its ‘Member States’, remain independent sovereign nations but they pool their sovereignty in order to gain a strength and world influence they would not have on their own. For details, see Practice Note: List of EU Member States and official languages.

The EU has an institutional framework aimed at defending its values, objectives and interests, the interests of its citizens and those of its Member States. This framework also contributes to ensuring the coherency, effectiveness and continuity of EU policies and actions.

The EU’s core institutional framework consists of seven institutions which represent different interests and have been allocated executive, legislative, judicial and other powers:

  1. European Parliament

  2. Council of the European Union

  3. European Commission

  4. European Council

  5. Court of Justice of the European Union

  6. European Court of Auditors

  7. European Central Bank

Each institution acts within the limits of its remit, granted in the EU Treaties in line with the procedures, conditions and purposes laid down therein.

Executive powers are carried out by the European

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