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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 Commission are responsible for making policy and decisions. The European Commission proposes EU legislation while the Council and the Parliament jointly adopt it.




  • The European Parliament is made up of 705 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 the European Union is made up of the 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 Commission.

The Parliament: A Voice for the People

Representing 450 million European citizens, the European Parliament is the second largest democratic electorate in the world (after the Parliament of India) and the largest transnational democratic electorate in the world; there were over 400 million eligible voters in 2019. The European Parliament is also the first EU institution mentioned in the European Treaties.


The current President of the European Parliament is David Sassoli; elected in July 2019. The seat of the European Parliament is in Strasbourg, France. Most of the work of the Parliament is done in Brussels (Belgium), but the monthly plenary sessions are held in Strasbourg (France). About half of the staff works in Brussels and half in Luxembourg.