Overview of the EU and its institutions

Report
Overview of the EU and its institutions
Stephanie Newman, IEEP
20 February 2013
Fisheries Secretariat Workshop:
Fisheries Policy in Poland and EU: How does it work?
www.ieep.eu
@IEEP_eu
Contents
• What is the role of the Commission, European
Parliament and the Council?
• How does the Council work? What is the role of
the Permanent Representatives to the EU?
• Who does what in the European Parliament?
• Overview of the policy making process
• Difference between legislative instruments
2
EU Institutions - Who does what?
• EU policy is developed
and agreed by three
main institutions:
– European Commission
– European Parliament
– Council of the
European Union
3
The European Commission
• Initiates Community policy
• Enforces EU law (together
with European Court of
Justice)
• Manages policy and oversees its
implementation
• External representative and negotiator
4
The European Commission
5
Credit © European Union, 2013
Credit © European Union, 2013
• Is led by 27 Commissioners, ‘the College of
Commissioners’
• And the President of the Commission (José
Manuel Barroso)
The Commission Services
• Permanent apolitical administration
• Organised into Directorates-General (DGs) and
other services
– DG MARE, DG ENV, Secretariat General
– Split into Directorates and Units
• Prepare policy proposals, manage expenditure
programmes, conduct external trade
negotiations
6
The European Parliament
• The only directly elected EU
institution
• Number of MEPs per
Member State roughly
proportional to population
• Revision of Treaties has seen increase in power
• Since the Lisbon Treaty EP is co-legislator (with
the Council)
7
The European Parliament
• The European Parliament can:
– Ask the Commission to present legislative proposals
– Create new laws, especially under the ordinary
legislative procedure
– Approve Commissioner appointments
– Bring the Commission or Council to the Court
– Amend or reject the EU’s annual budget
8
The European Parliament
• Meets twice a month in plenary sessions in
Brussels and Strasbourg
• MEPs are grouped by political group rather than
nationality
• Preparatory work for plenary sessions carried
out in specialised committees of MEPs
– 20 specialised Committees
– PECH Committee, ENVI Committee
9
Parliamentary Committees
• Once the Commission has tabled a proposal, a
Committee is identified to lead negotiations
• MEP from lead Committee (Rapporteur)
coordinates Parliament’s response and drafts
report
• Committee’s report is voted on in plenary
session attended by all MEPs
10
The Council
• European Council or Council of the EU?
11
The Council
• European Council or Council of the EU?
• Council of the EU (or Council of Ministers)
directly represents Member States
• Meets in ten different ‘formations’ depending
on subject
– Agriculture and Fisheries Council
– Environment Council
12
Council of the European Union
• Conclude international
agreements between
the EU and other
countries or
organisations
13
Credit: Nicolas Bouvy/ EPA
• Pass European laws jointly with the EP
• However ordinary legislative procedure does
not extend to allocating fishing opportunities
• The European Council!
• brings together the Heads
of State or Government
from each Member State
• Provide strategic
guidance, set general
political direction of the
EU
14
Credit © European Union, 2013
Not to be confused with...
Presidency of the Council
• Rotates among Member States every six months
• New Presidencies start in January and July
• 3 successive Presidencies adopt 18-month work
programme
• Chairs different meetings under the different
Council formations, promote their priorities
15
Preparing Council meetings
• The Permanent Representatives Committee
(Coreper)
– Consists of representatives from Member States
– Responsible for preparing Council meetings
– Scrutinises dossiers on Council agenda
– Seeks to reach agreement or suggest solutions to
Council
– Does not have power to take decisions
16
Coreper
• Two configurations:
– Coreper I: deputy perm reps, deals with technical
matters;
– Coreper II: consists of ambassadors, deals with
political, commercial, economic or institutional
matters.
• Permanent presence in Brussels
• Meetings weekly
17
Working Groups under Coreper
• 300 or so permanent WGs established under
Coreper
• Officials from Member State administrations,
Permanent Representation in Brussels.
• Try to arrive at a proposal that will reach
agreement in Council
18
Legislative instruments
• Several types of Community ‘legislation’:
19
– Regulations
– Directives
– Decisions
Legislative
instruments
– Recommendations
– Opinions
Not legally
binding
Regulations
• Directly applicable law
• Mostly used for precise purposes such as
financial matters
20
Directives
• Addressed to Member States rather than
citizens
• Binding as to results but leaves Member States
the choice of form and methods
• Transposition
21
Decisions
• Binding in its entirety to whom it is addressed
• Council can delegate to the Commission
22
Decision making in the EU
• Main EU decision-making bodies are the
Commission, the Parliament and the Council
• The Commission is the only institution that can
table a formal legislative proposal
• The Council and the Parliament vote on the
Commission’s proposals
• Their powers vary according to different
procedures for decision-making:
– Ordinary legislative procedure
– Special legislative procedure
23
Ordinary legislative procedure
• Previously known as co-decision
• Refers to joint decision-making by the EP and
the Council
• Co-decision became ‘ordinary’ with Lisbon
• Exceptions: fiscal decisions, planning,
quantitative management of water resources,
land use, supply and diversification of energy
24
Outline of the procedure
25
First reading
• The (1) Commission presents a legislative proposal to (2)
Parliament and the (3) Council simultaneously.
• EP adopts (4) its position and submits it to the Council.
• If the Council agrees with the EP’s position, (5) the
legislative text is adopted.
26
Second reading
• If the (1) Council does not accept Parliament’s first reading position, it
draws up its (2) position.
• (3) EP has three months to react. It may approve the Council position
and (4) the legislative text is adopted.
• Or the EP may amend the Council position.
• The Council (5) then has three months to respond. If it approves the
amendments the legislative text (6) is adopted.
27
Second reading
• Or if the Council rejects them…
• A Conciliation Committee is convened to
reconcile the positions
• Consists of:
– 27 MEPs
– 27 Members of the Council
28
Conciliation and third reading
•
•
•
29
After an agreement has
been reached the (1)
Conciliation Committee
adopts a (2) ‘joint text’
based on the Council
position and the EP’s
second reading
amendments
If the Council and (3) the
EP approve the ‘joint text’
in its entirety, the (4) act is
adopted.
If the Conciliation
Committee cannot agree,
or if the Council or
Parliament do not approve
it, the (5) act is not
adopted.
Summary
• Commission initiates and enforces policy
• Parliament helps to create legislation and hold the
Commission to account
• The Council helps to pass legislation
• Permanent representatives support the meetings
of Council
• There are different types of legislation used for
different situations
• A new policy will be scrutinised by a lot of people
in the EU before it gets passed!
30
For further information please visit:
IEEP guide to institutions and decision-making:
http://www.ieep.eu/understanding-the-eu/guide-to-institutions-and-decision-making/
European Parliament step by step guide to the ordinary legislative procedure:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/0080a6d3d8/Ordinary-legislativeprocedure.html
Contact: [email protected]
www.ieep.eu
@IEEP_eu

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