POLD89H3 Lecture Notes - Finnish Markka, Sui Generis, Agenda 2000
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Week 10: The EU and (New)Governance and Globalization
Week 11: The EU: Supranationalism and Non-global Integration
EU Institutions and Organs
1. European institutions
The statutes and general objectives of the Community institutions are defined in the Treaties. Some new
treaties are regularly signed to enlarge the competences of the institutions. Five MAIN institutions are:
the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the Court of
Justice and the Court of Auditors.
a) The European Commission
The European Commission has three responsibilities:
- It is the Guardian of the Treaties: it ensures the implementation of the Treaties and of the community
- It has an initiative function: it proposes texts to the Parliament and the Council, which will then adopt
them and edit a European law or implement financing programs.
- It has an execution and management function: it manages the budget, the community funds and the
common Structural Funds.
- Finally it negotiates treaties for the Community.
b) The European Parliament
It is constituted of European Members of Parliament who are directly elected in each Member State.
The Parliament holds a three-fold action:
- It is one of the European decision makers; it carries Community acts - Legislative Power.
- Its Budgetary Power allows it to define the definitive budget. It is enabled to reject it.
- It also holds a Political control of the institutions: it can ask the Commission to submit a proposal to the
Council or ask written or oral questions to the institutions.
c) The Council of the European Union
It is also called "Council" or "Council of Ministers" and it is constituted of twenty seven ministers, who
represent the policy of their government. For instance, the Agriculture Council will gather 27 Ministers
in charge of Agriculture. It carries regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations or advice.
d) European Court of Justice (ECJ)
The Court of Justice ensures the strict observance of the Community law. In the context of a national-
wide trial, a judge may refer to the Court to answer to a Community question.
e) The Court of Auditors
It is an independent institution that monitors the financial management of the Union, its institutions and
the recipients of European financial supports.
f) A particular Case: the European Council
The European Council has a vague and rather undefined statute. It gathers the Presidents or/and the
Prime Ministers of the Member States of the European Union in a Summit at least twice a year.
Together, they define the priorities and the calendar of the Community construction.
2. The other Community organs
a) The Economic and Social Committee (ESC)
It gathers the representatives of the organized civil society of the Member States and the groups of
social and economic interests (employers, workers and activity groups regarding all sectors of activity) to
enable them to express and defend their opinions within the institutions. The Commission must consult
it before acts related to the internal market, education, consumers’ safety, environment, regional
development or social affairs are adopted. However, it can decide to issue opinion for the institutions to
defend the living conditions of the citizens.
b) The Committee of the Regions
It is a consultative organ, which represents the local and regional authorities. The European Commission
or the Council and the Parliament must consult it when the matter may have regional or local
repercussions. It may emit opinions.
c) The European Investment Bank (EIB)
The EIB group is the financial organization of the European Union. The Group consists of the EIB itself,
which allocates direct or indirect global loans and of the EIF (European Investment Fund) that supports
the innovative companies through activities of capital venture or guarantees. They act in order to foster
the implementation of fundamental and priority objectives in the European Union.
d) The European Central Bank (ECB)
The ECB manages the introduction of the single currency and defines the monetary policy of the
countries belonging to the Euro-zone. Its fundamental mission is to monitor and master inflation within
the Union, but it also controls the reserves and leads the change operations.
e) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
The EBRD fosters the transition towards open market-oriented economies in the Central and Eastern
European countries and in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). It grants loans and brings
guarantees to the projects that aim at modernizing infrastructures in those countries.
COMMUNITY METHOD AND INTERGOVERNMENTAL METHOD
The "Community method" is the expression used for the institutional operating mode for the first pillar
of the European Union. It proceeds from an integration logic and has the following salient features:
Commission monopoly of the right of initiative;
general use of qualified majority voting in the Council;
an active role for the European Parliament in co-legislating frequently with the Council;
uniformity in the interpretation of Community law ensured by the Court of Justice.
The method used for the second and third pillars is similar to the so-called "intergovernmental method",
with the difference that the Commission shares its right of initiative with the Member States, the