European Parliament Essays

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The EU Institutions
Remember: Treaty of Lisbon (ToL)
The ToL has created two new Treaties:
The Treaty on the European Union (TEU).
Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) - sets out explicit competencies of the Union and detailed procedures to be used in each policy field.
Art 13(1) TEU- EU Institutions
7 institutions recognized: European Parliament, European Council (added with the ToL) Council European Commission Court of Justice of the European Union European Central Bank (added with the ToL) Court of Auditors.

Each institution “…shall act within the limits of powers conferred on it by the Treaties”.

Art 13(2) TEU provides that

“the Union shall have an institutional framework which shall aim to provide its values, advance its objectives, serve its interests, those of its citizens and those of the Member States, and ensure the consistency, effectiveness and continuity of its policies and actions”.

Formation/composition and Functions/powers of each of the following institutions:
The European Commission
The Council
The European Council
The European Parliament
The Court of Justice
The European Commission; Article 17 TEU; Articles 244-50 TFEU
27 Commissioners, appointed by governments but must be independent. They represent the EU; 5 year term; operate on principle of collegiality; the College of Commissioners takes collective responsibility for all decisions (political arm).

Divided into Directorates-Generals (administrative arm, like national ministries)

Cabinets: appointed by the President, each Cabinet is the Office of a Commissioner: interface between the Commissioners and the DGs.

The President of the European Commission
Proposed by the European Council – elected by the Parliamentary majority: renewable term of two years; responsible for the political direction of the Commission; his confirmation approved by the MSs and EP; he then chooses the Commission, subject as a whole to approval by the EP.
President allocates portfolios to individual Commissioners, each assisted by its own cabinet.

Commissioners are responsible to him; he can request an individual Commissioner to resign.
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy:
Appointed/dismissed by Council with the agreement of the President. The only member that cannot be dismissed unilaterally by the President of the Commission. Member of the Commission, takes part in the work of the European Council and chairs the Foreign Affairs Council. = Britain's EU commissioner Catherine Ashton Aim: to create a more integrated and coordinated external policy / international profile of the EU.
Responsible for the conduct of the Union common foreign and security policy and its security and defence policy. However, they are to act under the mandate of the Council.

Powers of the Commission
Article 17 TEU – (no rigid separation of powers)
1. The Commission shall promote the general interest of the Union and take appropriate initiatives to that end. It shall ensure the application of the Treaties, and of measures adopted by the institutions pursuant to them. It shall oversee the application of Union law under the control of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It shall execute the budget and manage programmes. It shall exercise coordinating, executive and management functions, as laid down in the Treaties. With the exception of the common foreign and security policy, and other cases provided for in the Treaties, it shall ensure the Union's external representation. It shall initiate the Union's annual and multiannual programming with a view to achieving inter institutional agreements.
2. Union legislative acts may only be adopted on the basis of a Commission proposal, except where the Treaties provide otherwise. Other acts shall be adopted on the basis of a Commission proposal where the Treaties so provide.