2 TUE Article 13 The Union’s institutions shall be: the European Parliamentthe European Councilthe Councilthe European Commissionthe Court of Justice of the European Unionthe European Central Bankthe Court of Auditors
3 3 main institutions = « instiutionnal triangle » the Council (and the European Council), which represents the governments of the individual member countriesThe European Commission, which represents the interests of the Union as a wholeThe European Parliament, which represents the EU’s citizens and is directly elected by them
4 The Council & European Council Intergovernmental legitimacy / represent national interestsMajor distinction between the 2 councils :The Council: exists since the EEC= The legislator (unique, to begin with)The European Council: first meetings in 1961, institutionalized in 1974, mentioned in the treaty since the SEA (1986), recognized as an institution since the Lisbon treaty (2007)
5 The CouncilComposition: a representative of each MS at ministerial level (who can commit the government)Different configurations (9) among which: General & foreign Affairs Council, ECOFIN, Employment & Social Policy Council.Presidency held by each MS in turn for 6 months
6 COREPER Committee of Permanent Representatives Composed of senior national officersPrepares the work of the Council (works on drafts proposals made by the Commission)Only the most difficult issues remain unsolved when the Council meets
7 Powers of the CouncilLegislator: approval of Commission proposals => law (if the Parliament also agrees in co-decision)+ May request the Commission to submit proposals, and may delegate powers to the Commission to pass legislation in a particular fieldExecutive functionsExternal relationsDraft the budget and decides (with the Parliament)
8 Votes at the Council « Qualified » majority or unanimity Notion of qualified majorityOriginal meaning = each state had a number of votes and a majority of votes was requiredSince Lisbon (but delayed to 2014): majority of States + majority of the population (65%)
9 The European CouncilComposition: Heads of States or government + president of the CommissionSince Lisbon, a president is elected by qualified majority for a 2 and a half year term (renewable once). The president sits as another member of the CouncilMeets at least twice a year
10 The president of the European Council Chairs meetings of the CouncilEnsure preparation & continuityHelps to ensure cohesion & consensusIssues a report to the Parliament after each summit
11 Any relationship problems ? What is the relationship of the presidents and member states? What about the Council intergovernmental legitimacy? What kind the relationship with the Council of ministers?Interaction with the Commission and its president? Cooperation or competition (cf. agenda setting role)?Interaction with the High representative for the Union foreign affairs and security policy?
12 High representative for the Union foreign affairs Created by the Lisbon treatyExternal representation of the EU, conducts diplomacyVice president of the Commission and runs the External relations Directorate GeneralChairs the external relations Council= « double hat » (more integrated and coordinated policy) / should be the face of the Union at the international level
13 Mission/powers of the European Council The European Council provides the necessary impetus for the development of the Union and defines general political guidelines= « defines the directions and priorities »-> Decides of Intergovermental conferences (IGC = summits) to amend treaties = affirms the consequential treaty changes-> Launches ideas of policy strategies-> Intervenes in external relations (new accessions)
14 Limits of the European Council powers Adopts concluding resolutions but no law NO LEGISLATIVE FUNCTIONS (resolutions have to go through the legislative process)
15 The European Commission Integrative legitimacy / The most important political force for integrationComposition-> 27 members / one per MS-> Lisbon reform (in force in 2014): 18 commissioners only (rotation) to ensure administrative efficiency (v. representation of member states)
16 AppointmentCouncil meeting as heads of states nominates the person to be the president (qualified majority)Council in accord with the nominee for president adopts a list of proposed commissioners (based on MS’s proposals)European Parliament approval of the president & commissioners (hearings)Appointment by the Council
17 Organization of the Commission President: decides on internal organization and on prioritiesCommission structured through Directorates General for each sphere of competence (agriculture, competition, eco & financial affairs). They initiate legislative proposals.
18 Powers of the Commission Initiative power = initiate legislation= « motor of the integration »Monitoring power= « the watchdog », ensures that the treaty and other acts are properly applied Brings actions against member states to the Court of Justice, may bring action in case of failure to act by other institutions
19 Other powers Executive (ensures implementation, adopts regulations) Establishment of the budgetExternal relations (determines & conducts the EU external trade relations)
20 The European Parliament Democratic legitimacy Election: Every 5 years, in Member states (low turnout and declining, 43% in 2009) Composition: MEPs for each country (in proportion to its population) Total: 736 members representing 500 millions citizens Lisbon Treaty: no country can have fewer than 6 or more than 96 MEPs. MEPs are grouped by political affiliation, not by nationality.
21 Powers of the European Parliament Legislator, together with the CouncilScrutinising other EU institutions, particularly the Commission, to make sure they are working democraticallyDebating and adopting the EU's budget, together with the Council.
22 The Parliament as a legislator Decides on the content of EU laws and adopts them when the « ordinary legislative procedure » applies (ex "co-decision").Lisbon Treaty: the range of policies covered by co-decision has increased
23 Parliament’s democratic supervision When a new Commission is appointed, its members cannot take up office until Parliament has approved them. If the Members of the European Parliament disapprove of a nominee, they can reject the entire slate.Parliament can also call on the Commission to resign during its period in office (motion of censure)Parliament keeps check on the Commission by examining reports it produces and by questioning CommissionersMEPs look at petitions from citizens and sets up committees of inquiry.When national leaders meet for European Council summits, Parliament gives its opinion on the topics on the agenda
24 Other actionsParliament gives its permission for other important decisions, such as allowing new countries to join the EUBudget:Adoption with the Council of the European Union.Parliament monitors the expenditure (through a committee)
25 conclusionThe EU institutional framework does not compare easily with national onesThe relationship between institutions are based on functional cooperation (more than political bounds)The democratic legitimacy of the whole system is questionned