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The European Union Explained Michael Raftery& Beccy Allen.

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Presentation on theme: "The European Union Explained Michael Raftery& Beccy Allen."— Presentation transcript:

1 The European Union Explained Michael Raftery& Beccy Allen

2 European Council Who? Made up of all member-states heads of government or state President of Commission also attends How? Meets four times a year Presidency of the Council rotates every six months What? Defines EUs strategic direction

3 European Commission Who? Headed by Cabinet of 27 Commissioners Employs about 30,000 people How? President of Commission chosen by EU governments Commissioners nominated by their national governments Commissioners and President approved by EU Parliament What? Drafts proposals for EU laws Implementing decisions Manages day-to-day business of EU

4 Council of Ministers Who? Made up of a government minister from each member state Membership changes according to the subject of discussion How? Each country has weighted vote Makes decisions alongside the EU Parliament What? Considers legislation from Commission Sets EU policy on issues where the EU can only act unanimously- such as defence & foreign policy Signs international treaties with non-EU states on behalf of the EU Voice of the member states

5 European Parliament Who? 785 MEPs MEPs form cross-country coalition parties and sit in these groupings How? Elected every five years (in the UK we use a closed-list PR system) Only directly elected body in EU What? Legislates as an equal with Council of Ministers Most work done in committees Vote in plenary sessions Voice of the people

6 Court of Justice Who? One judge per member-state Judges elect one of their number as President for three years How? Judges appointed by the Governments of member-states Chosen from experienced and highly qualified judges in home countries What? Union law applied the same across EU Settles legal disputes Can overrule national law, if it conflicts with EU Law, since it is the highest court in the EU

7 Court of Auditors Who? One member from each EU state Elect one of themselves as President How? Appointed by Council of Ministers Chosen from highly qualified auditors in home countries What? Oversee EU accounts Produce audit report each year

8 European Commission European Parliament Council of Ministers EU lawEU budget Court of Justice Court of Auditors co-decision Appoints Appoints & supervises Proposes legislation and budget arbitratessupervises citizens National Governments European Council How it all fits together…. Directs strategy

9 European Commission proposes draft law The Council of Ministers considers this draft Does the Council of Ministers approve? The Council of Ministers suggests changes European Parliament re- examines the draft law Does European Parliament agree? European Parliament suggests changes Can the Council and European Parliament agree? European Parliament and Council call a conciliation committee Can the European Parliament and Council reach agreement Legislation is dropped No Law is adopted Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes European Parliament discusses draft and makes changes How are laws passed?

10 What do MEPs do? The 12 regions and nations of the United Kingdom have between three and ten MEPs They divide their time between their regional constituencies in the UK and committee and political group meetings in Brussels For one week in every month they are in Strasbourg to vote in a full session of the European Parliament They do much of their political work as members of at least one of Parliaments twenty specialist policy committees Contacting MEPs allows you to enter your postcode and find out who your MEPs are Typically, MEPs spend Monday to Thursday either in Brussels or Strasbourg and Friday/weekend in the UK Contact all MEPs in your region, giving them at least 6 weeks notice and a variety of dates

11 Useful Links union/ union/

12 Breakout session Nominate a presenter to feedback: What was the activity? Strengths/Weaknesses? How would you use it (differentiation)?

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