The European Union institutions produce the EU’s policies and oversee the management of its various programmes.
The European Council is made up of the heads of Member State governments, who meet to guide the work of the EU.
The European Council is where the heads of Member State governments meet to guide the work of the EU
The Council usually meets between four and six times a year and you can see its conclusions online. Since the Lisbon Treaty, the European Council has a full-time President who chairs its meetings. Herman Van Rompuy has held this position since 2009.
The European Commission proposes legislation and policy for the Council of the European Union and European Parliament to discuss and decide on. It also makes sure that countries comply with European legislation and it manages many of the EU’s programmes. Each member state nominates one commissioner each to the Commission and it’s headed by the Commission President. The current Commission President is Jose Manuel Barrosso, whose term of office runs until 2014. The European Commission Representation in Ireland is open to the public and provides information on the Commission’s work, its programmes and funding opportunities that it provides.
Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union is made up of Ministers from the Member States who come together to make decisions on legislation and policy. There are 10 different Council formations for different policy areas, eg General Affairs Council, Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council and Foreign Affairs Council.
The European Parliament is made up of 754 directly-elected MEPs from all Member States who help create policy and make decisions in co-operation with the Council of the EU. Ireland is represented by 12 MEPs from four constituencies whose five-year term runs until 2014.
Court of Justice of the European Union
The Court of Justice of the EU makes sure that EU legislation is correctly applied and respected by member states. It has one judge from each member state. It is assisted by the General Court as the number of cases can prove too large for the Court of Justice alone.
European Central Bank
The European Central Bank manages the Euro currency and monetary policy for the eurozone. The governor of the Central Bank of Ireland sits on the Governing Council of the ECB.
European Court of Auditors
The European Court of Auditors was established in 1975 in Luxembourg to audit the accounts of EU institutions. The Court is composed of one member from each EU member state.