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The EU Constitution The European Union Explained: EU Constitution and Trade Policy Making University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, May 20-21, 2010 Dr. Ronald.

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Presentation on theme: "The EU Constitution The European Union Explained: EU Constitution and Trade Policy Making University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, May 20-21, 2010 Dr. Ronald."— Presentation transcript:

1 The EU Constitution The European Union Explained: EU Constitution and Trade Policy Making University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, May 20-21, 2010 Dr. Ronald H. van Ooik University of Amsterdam

2 Overview of Topics I.Structure EU after Lisbon II.7 Institutions after Lisbon: European Council, Parliament, Commission, Council, Court of Justice (and ECB and Court of Auditors) III.Law-making in the EU: Competences, Decision Making, Consultations, Legal Acts

3 Overarching provisions (Titles I, VII en VIII of the EU Treaty) First Pillar/ Community Pillar EC Treaty - Euratom Treaty [ ECSC Treaty] Second Pillar: Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) (Title V EU Treaty) Third Pillar: Police and Justice Cooperation in Criminal Matters (PJCC) (Title VI EU Treaty) I. Previous Structure EU: the Famous ‘Three Pillars’

4 I. Current Structure EU – After Lisbon Treaty on European Union (TEU) Constitutional/ institutional law + CFSP Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) All other policy areas Charter Of Fundamental Rights of the EU “Same legal value’ as TEU and TFEU Euratom “The Union shall be founded on”:

5 I. Structure EU: What’s in the TEU? Values and aims of the EU EU Competences: Principle of Conferral, Subsidiarity, Proportionality Human Rights Democratic Principles The Institutions Enhanced Cooperation External Action and CFSP Treaty Revision Accession to the EU Withdrawal from the EU

6 I. Structure EU: What’s in the TFEU? Principles Citizenship of the EU Internal policies, e.g.: - Internal Market: Free Movement and Competition - Agriculture and fisheries - EMU - Social policy, environment, public health, etc. - ‘Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’ EU external action (but socioeconomic) Institutions and Finances

7 I. Structure EU: What’s in the Charter? Dignity Freedoms Equality Solidarity Rights EU Citizens Justice General provisions, notably relation to ECHR

8 II. Institutions: European Council Heads of State or Government + President Commission + (since Lisbon) its own President = Herman Van Rompuy President European Council: coordinating and stimulating role + represents EU externally in CFSP matters ‘at his level’ European Council defines ‘general political directions and priorities’ = Turkey candidate membership?; single currency?; a European migration policy?; etc. * Decides by consensus, unless QMV or simple majority

9 II. Institutions: European Parliament Directly elected since 1979, representatives of ‘the Union’s citizens’, no more than 750 MEPs Main Tasks - The EU legislator, together with Council (under the ‘ordinary legislative procedure’; though sometimes still EP consultation or EP assent) - Budgetary authority, together with Council - Political control over European Commission (approval President and entire Commission; make the Commission resign ‘as a body’)

10 II. Institutions: Council of Ministers Representatives of the governments of the Member States Main Tasks - The EU legislator, often together with EP - Budgetary authority, together with Council Voting in the Council: by QMV, unless by unanimity or by a simple majority (of its members) Definition of QMV always a very controversial issue 

11 II. Institutions: Council of Ministers Until 1 November 2014 the ‘old’ system of weighted votes - Each MS a certain number of weighted votes. (see the list in ‘Europe in 12 lessons’, p. 18) votes out of 345 weighted vote needed to reach a QMV ( = 74%) As from 1 November at least 55% of the members of Council (minimum 15) and - representing at least 65% of the EU population - blocking minority at least 4 members Council

12 II. Institutions: European Commission Independent and impartial, serve the ‘general interest of the Union’ Nevertheless…. Currently 27 members  Lisbon: as from 1 November 2014: 2/3 of number of Member States  ‘Irish coup’: ‘We want to keep our own commissioner’

13 II. Institutions: European Commission Most important tasks of the EC Initiator legislative process: exclusive right of initiative (EP and Council decide) Its own decision-making powers; delegated acts and implementing acts  Commission is daily management board/executive of the Union External (economic) relations: negotiating, though Council concludes the CETA EU-CA Supervisory tasks - imposing fines on undertakings for breach competition rules -bringing Member States before the ECJ

14 II. Institutions: Court of Justice of the EU The Institution ECJ (in Luxemburg) - Court of Justice - General Court (Court of First Instance) - Specialised Courts 27 judges, appointed for 6 years, independent and impartial Do not confuse with the European Court of Human Rights (Strasburg)

15 II. Institutions: Court of Justice of the EU Its tasks/jurisdiction I.Dispute settlement in direct actions - Action for infringement of EU law: Commission  Member State - Action for annulment of EU legislation Member States, Institutions, Individuals  Institutions II.Preliminary rulings See next slide III. Other heads of jurisdiction - Opinions on draft agreements EU-third countries

16 II. Preliminary Reference Procedure (Art. 267b TFEU) Primary Union law: Interpretation Secondary Union law: Interpretation and validity European Court of Justice National courts of the Member States Individual Member State Individual National laws of the Member States Subordinate courts Supreme courts

17 III. EU Law-making: Competences Attribution of (specific) powers  in search of an appropriate legal basis for EU legislation Use of (existing) powers - Principle of subsidiarity: Is it really necessary that the EU exercises its competences? - Principle of proportionality: EU action should not be too intense/detailed

18 III. EU Law-making TFEU, with numerous legal bases: Secondary level: Basic acts of Council and EP Regulation Directive Art. 43: ‘Agriculture and fisheries’ Art. 114: ‘Internal market’ Art. 192: ‘environment’ Tertiary level: delegated and implementing acts Commission Decision Art. 207: ‘trade agreements’ Proposal Commission

19 III.EU Law-making: Consultations * By Commission, on draft proposal * Through European Economic and Social Committee - representatives of ‘civil society’ * Through Committee of the Regions - representatives of local and regional governments * A more intense role in the field of EU social policy

20 III.EU Law-making: Legal Acts Most important legal acts: * Regulation - general application, binding, directly applicable in all member states * Directive - general application, binding as regards the result  Diretives must be implemented into national law of the Member States * Decision - binding, usually one specific addressee (Member State or company) But many other types of legal acts: opinions, action programmes, also international agreements to which the EU is a party


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