Which institution leads the Union

Which establishment leads the Union?

“The European Union continues to be a instead distant construct for most people. In so far as they think about it at all, it is regarded as a affair for authoritiess, specializer commissions and for experts. Although there is a reasonably generalised grasp ( which is stronger in the original six member provinces than in the others ) of the economic benefits that the Union has brought, there is small experiencing that the EU affects citizens in their mundane life.” ( Leonard, D. , 2000:226 )

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The European Union provides a myriad of theoretical and analytical jobs for all pupils of international political relations who wish to analyze the single establishments of the EU. This, chiefly, is because the European Union is non a province ; instead, “it is a de-centralised web that is owned by its member states.” ( Leonard, M. , 2003:23 ) Furthermore, as opposed to stand foring the involvements of the state, the EU is a supranational administration that exists supra and beyond of the concerns of any single member province. This consequently poses immediate inquiries as to which establishments are in charge of ‘leading’ the Union. This is an progressively of import issue as the Union keeps germinating and due souths and due wests to include member provinces that used to be within the former Soviet Union ; that have small or no historical tradition of representative democracy within their corporate province histories. Therefore, the issue is both complex every bit good as extremely topical.

For the intent of position, the following essay will look into the function of the European Commission and the European Council in order to determine the single powers of both European establishments. A decision will be sought that efforts to put both within the context of an emerging supranational federation that seeks to intermesh the separate political, judicial and executive weaponries of the Union into the most powerful law?making and decision?making organic structure throughout Europe and, in the hereafter, beyond.

The European Council is such an of import portion of the organizational construction of the European Union because it is the organic structure that is chiefly responsible for decision?making and coordination of common EU policies, most notably common economic policies, such as the Common Agricultural Policy ( CAP ) . The Council operates on behalf of the European Commission with respects to the decision of international understandings between the EU and other international administrations ( such as the UN ) . This gives the European Council of import powers of veto refering the normally in agreement policies of member provinces every bit good as the successful execution of these common policies.

However, the most of import power of the European Council has, arguably, yet to be full realised. This power concerns the emerging common foreign, security and international policing policy of the EU. This, in bend, is an country of argument that is in merely its embryologic phases but which besides constitutes the front line of the argument on the intent of the European Union at the start of the 20 first century, particularly after the panic atrociousnesss of September 11 have wholly altered the landscape of European security concerns, doing in the procedure the issue of a common foreign and security policy ( CFSP ) a affair that can merely be solved by increased international cooperation ( Smith, 2003:193-195 ) . Furthermore, the fact that the CFSP “developed outside of the formal EC institutional structure” ( Soetendorp, 1999:68 ) suggests that, much like the European Court of Justice ( ECJ ) , the European Council can go an establishment with greater powers of integrating than were first envisaged in 1957 during the confirmation of the Treaty of Rome ( McCormick, 2002:190?110 ) .

The power of the European Council is farther accentuated by the composing of the administration. The Council debates policy at all EU degrees ; nevertheless, the representatives to the EU come from cabinet members of the national authoritiess of the member provinces. European Council Sessionss are non, hence, capable to the same claims of ineffectiveness that dog other EU administrations whose representatives are sometimes seen to be nil more than envoys as opposed to official embassadors to Brussels. This is augmented by the six month footings of presidential term for the European Council as opposed to the five twelvemonth term of office that exists for the place of President of the European Commission.

Yet, although the European Commission appears to be a much more opaque institutional than the European Council, it is, in kernel, a really similar administration to the European Commission that dovetails ( as opposed to hinders ) the powers of supranational authorities. For case, like the Council, the Commission is intended to be a organic structure that exists outside of the control of the member provinces with commissioners elected independently of national authoritiess. In this manner, it is hoped that the executive arm of the Union can be free from charges of corruptness in the same manner as the European Council. However, it is besides in this manner that the European Commission can be seen to be basically powerless as the policies that it debates do non truly influence electors of member provinces at an electoral degree. Environmentalism and human rights, while they are surely causes deserving championing, do non by and large impact upon the day?to?day?existence of European Union citizens. Therefore, in the concluding analysis, the European Commission ( like the European Council ) appears to be a organic structure that has been designed by “intergovernmental bargaining procedures” ( Beach, 2005: 254?263 ) so as to protect the autonomous governments of the single member provinces against an emerging international political administration with all “the features of a federation” ( Hartley, 1994:55 ) .


Along with the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council are the three chief establishments that govern the brotherhood. Each is politically powerful in its ain right, which is harmonizing to the rules of supranational authorities whereby EU establishments have “power or influence traveling beyond that permitted to it by national governments” ( Bache and George, 2006:8 ) . However, finally, these powers are structurally limited by the prolongation of the primacy of independent national self?determination at the disbursal of greater European integrating. Until this instability is addressed, the driving force of the Union will ever shack with the member provinces as opposed to with any one organizational EU organic structure.


Bache, I. and George, S. ( 2006 )Politicss of the European UnionOxford: Oxford University Press

Beach, D. ( 2005 )The Dynamics of European Integration: Why and When EU Institutions MatterBasingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Hartley, T.C. ( 1994 )The Foundation of European Community LawOxford: Oxford University Press

Leonard, D. ( 2000 )The Economist Guide to the European UnionLondon: Profile

Leonard, M. ( 2005 )Why Europe will run the Twenty First CenturyLondon: Fourth Estate

McCormick, J. ( 2002 )Understanding the European Union: Second EditionBasingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Smith, K.E. ( 2003 )European Union Foreign Policy in a Changing UniverseCambridge: Polity Press

Soetendorp, B. ( 1999 )Foreign Policy in the European UnionEdinburgh: Pearson

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