THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION
The Commission has representations in all EU member states and 139 delegations scattered around the world. Its main functions are:
1. making legislative proposals, which are then adopted by the European “co-legislating” bodies, namely the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers
2. implementing European law (if necessary with the help of the EU Court of Justice)
3. setting goals and priorities for EU action through the Commission’s annual work program and work to achieve them
4. managing and implement the EU’s policies and budget
5. representing the Union outside Europe
For more information, visit: http://ec.europa.eu
THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL
The European Council sets the European Union’s overall political priorities and directions. It consists of the Heads of state or government of the Union’s member states, its President and the President of the European Commission.
It is not part of the Union’s legislatures and therefore does not negotiate or adopt legislation.
Instead, it sets the Union’s policy agenda, usually by adopting “conclusions” that identify problematic issues and measures to be taken.
For more information, visit: : http://www.consilium.europa.eu/
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
The European Parliament (EP) acts as co-legislator and shares with the Council the power to adopt and amend legislative proposals and to decide on the EU budget. It also oversees the work of the Commission and other EU bodies and cooperates with the national parliaments of the member states, which make their contributions. MEPs are chosen directly by voters in all Member States to represent citizens’ interests in the European legislative process and to ensure the democratic functioning of the other EU institutions.
For more information, visit: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/
THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is an advisory body of the European Union. Established in 1957, it provides expert advice to the major EU institutions (Commission, Council and European Parliament) through the preparation of opinions on proposals for European laws, and it also delivers opinions formulated on its own initiative on other issues that in its
judgment deserve consideration. One of the EESC’s main tasks is to serve as a bridge between the EU institutions and organized civil society: the Committee promotes participatory democracy in the EU and helps strengthen the role of representative civil society organizations by establishing a structured dialogue with such organizations in EU member states and other countries around the world.
For more information, visit: http://www.eesc.europa.eu/
THE COMMITTEE OF REGIONS
The Committee of the Regions (CoR) is an EU advisory body composed of locally and regionally elected representatives from all 28 Member States. The CoR provides an opportunity for cities and regions to formally express their views in the EU legislative process to ensure that the position and needs of regional and local authorities are respected.
For more information, visit: http://cor.europa.eu/it/Pages/home.aspx
COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
The Court of Justice of the European Union, based in Luxembourg, ensures that EU law is interpreted and applied in the same way in every European country and that EU countries and institutions comply with EU law. It also settles legal disputes between national governments and EU institutions. In certain circumstances, individual citizens, businesses or organizations might appeal to the ECJ for the purpose of taking legal action against an EU institution if they believe it has violated their rights in some way.
For more information, visit: http://curia.europa.eu/