The EU Institutions
The European Union has a complex institutional system consisting of many institutions and agencies, each playing their role assigned to it by the Treaty on the European Union.
The Institutional Triangle
There are three core institutions which make up the legislative and executive power of the EU. Together, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commision are responsible for making policy and decisions. The European Commission propses EU legislation while the Council and the Parliament jointly adopt it.
- The European Parliament is made up of 751 Members, who are directly elected by voters in all Member States, represent the European People's interests with regard to EU law making and make sure other EU institutions are working democratically.
- The Council of Europe is made up of different Member States' government Ministers, depending on the legislation being discussed. Ministers defend their national interests in the Council.
- The European Commision promotes the interests of the EU as a whole. Each Member State nominates one Commissionser to the European Commision.
The Parliament: A Voice for the People
Representing 500 million European citizens, the European Parliament represents the second largest democratic electorate in the world (after the Parliament of India) and the largest transnational democratic electorate in the world; there were 375 million eligible voters in 2009. The European Parliament is also the first EU institution mentioned in the European Treaties, ranking it the “first institution” of the EU, before the Council and the Commission. Thus, the EP President precedes all the national and European authorities at the European level.
The current President of the European Parliament is Antonio Tajani; elected in January 2017. The seat of the European Parliament is in Strasbourg, France. Other places of work are in Brussels, Belgium and Luxembourg, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Meetings of the entire Parliament (plenary sessions) take place in Strasbourg and Brussels, committee meetings are held in Brussels, while Luxembourg is home to some administrative offices.