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Institutional framework

The EU institutional framework includes: 

  • European Commission 
  • EU Council 
  • European Parliament 
  • European Council 
  • European Court of Justice 
  • European Court of Auditors 
  • European Central Bank 

Of these, the first three have decision-making power of a legislative typeand act in a coordinated manner. Generally,, it is the task of the Commission to propose new legislation, while the Parliament and the Council are responsible for the adoption thereof. The Commission must also ascertain the correct implementation of the legislation on the part of the Member States. 

In cases where the Council and Parliament cannot agree on the amendments, a solution is sought through the Conciliation Committee, otherwise known as the "formal trilogue meeting”. In this process the European Commission also intervenes as a mediator between the two bodies so that a solution can be reached more quickly. The "informal trilogue", on the other hand, can be carried out at any time during the ordinary legislative procedure. The agreements reached during the trilogues are then approved through the formal procedures of each of the three institutions. 

For more information on trilogues, see document [link to .pdf] on the European Parliament website at page 21. 

A fourth institution, the European Council, defines the general political guidelines of the Union and the prospects ofdevelopmentof the Union. The European Council must not be confused with the Council of the European Union nor with the Council of Europe, which is an international organization distinct from the European Union. 

The Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Auditors have control functions: jurisdictional andaccounting, respectively. The EU system is then completed by the European Central Bank that plays a pivotal rolein the field of economic and monetary policy. 

In addition to the institutions, the EU organizational framework consists of a series of bodies and entites with advisory, financial and control functions: Among these: the Committee of the Regions, the Economic and Social Committee, the European Investment Bank, and the European Agencies. 

European Commission

The European Commission is the institution that represents and protects, completely independent, the general interests of the Union.

Council of the European Union

The Council of the Union is the institution that represents the governments of the Member States in the EU decision-making process.

European Parliament

The European Parliament is the only EU institution directly elected by European citizens. It is composed of representatives of the citizens of the Union elected by direct universal vote for a five-year term.

European Council

The European Council is composed of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States, its President, and the President of the Commission. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy also participates.

Court of Justice of the European Union

Jurisdiction of the European Union, the Court of Justice ensures observance of the law in the interpretation and application of the EU Treaties.

European Court of Auditors

The European Court of Auditors monitors the legality and regularity of revenue and expenditure on the budget the of European Union and ascertains its sound financial management.

European Central Bank

The European Central Bank (ECB) was set up in 1998 by the Treaty on European Union to operate within the "European System of Central Banks" (ESCB) which includes the central banks of all the Member States of the Union.

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