the european union and its institutions

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the european union and its institutions
THEEUROPEANUNIONANDITSINSTITUTIONS
Answerthefollowingquestions;firstdiscussinpairs:
1. WhatdoyouknowabouttheEuropeanUnionanditsinstitutions?
2. Doyouknowwhoisrepresentedinthepicturesbelow?
http://ec.europa.eu/ec_portal/2014/images/news/img-commission.jpg
SomeinformationaboutEU(uptoDecember2014)
Readthefollowingtext:
THEEUROPEANCOMMISSION
The European Commission (EC) is the executive body of the European Union responsible for
proposinglegislation,implementingdecisions,upholdingtheEUtreatiesandmanagingthedayto-day business of the EU. Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in
Luxembourg,pledgingtorespectthetreatiesandtobecompletelyindependentincarryingout
theirdutiesduringtheirmandate.
The Commission operates as a cabinet government, with 28 members of the Commission
(informallyknownas"commissioners").Thereisonememberpermemberstate,butmembers
areboundbytheiroathofofficetorepresentthegeneralinterestoftheEUasawholerather
than their home state. One of the 28 is the Commission President (currently Jean-Claude
Juncker) proposed by the European Council and elected by the European Parliament. The
Council of the European Union then nominates the other 27 members of the Commission in
agreementwiththenominatedPresident,andthe28membersasasinglebodyarethensubject
to a vote of approval by the European Parliament. The current Commission is the Juncker
Commission,whichtookofficeinlate2014.
The term Commission is used either in the narrow sense of the 28-member College of
Commissioners(orCollege)ortoalsoincludetheadministrativebodyofabout23,000European
civil servants who are split into departments called directorates-general and services. The
procedurallanguagesoftheCommissionareEnglish,FrenchandGerman.TheMembersofthe
Commission and their "cabinets" (immediate teams) are based in the Berlaymont building in
Brussels.
The European Commission derives from one of the five key institutions created in the
supranationalEuropeanCommunitysystem,followingtheproposalofRobertSchuman,French
ForeignMinister,on9May1950.Originatingin1951astheHighAuthorityintheEuropeanCoal
and Steel Community, the Commission has undergone numerous changes in power and
compositionundervariouspresidents,involvingthreeCommunities.
Swearonoathat:to have formally promised to tell the truth
Topledge:to make a serious or formal promise to give or do something
Working in pairs, write a short summary about the European Commission and its functions
Readthefollowingtext:
THEEUROPEANPARLIAMENT
TheEuropean Parliament(EP) is thedirectly electedparliamentaryinstitutionof theEuropean
Union(EU). Together with theCouncil of the European Union(the Council) and theEuropean
Commission,itexercisesthelegislativefunctionoftheEU.TheParliamentiscomposedof751
(previously766)members,whorepresentthesecondlargestdemocraticelectorateintheworld
(aftertheParliamentofIndia)andthelargesttrans-nationaldemocraticelectorateintheworld
(375millioneligiblevotersin2009).
Ithasbeendirectlyelectedeveryfiveyearsbyuniversalsuffragesince1979.
Although the European Parliament has legislative power that the Council and Commission do
notpossess,itdoesnotformallypossesslegislativeinitiative,asmostnationalparliaments.
It likewise has equal control over theEU budget. Finally, theEuropean Commission, the
executive body of the EU, is accountable to Parliament. In particular, Parliament elects the
PresidentoftheCommission,andapproves(orrejects)theappointmentoftheCommissionasa
whole.ItcansubsequentlyforcetheCommissionasabodytoresignbyadoptingamotionof
censure.
ThePresidentoftheEuropeanParliament(Parliament'sspeaker)isMartinSchulz(S&D),elected
in January 2012. He presides over a multi-party chamber, the two largest groups being
theGroup of the European People's Party(EPP) and theProgressive Alliance of Socialists and
Democrats(S&D).Thelastunion-wideelectionswerethe2014elections.
The European Parliament has three places of work–Brussels(Belgium),the city of
Luxembourg(Luxembourg)andStrasbourg(France).Luxembourgishometotheadministrative
offices (the 'General Secretariat'). Meetings of the whole Parliament ('plenary sessions') take
placeinStrasbourgandinBrussels.CommitteemeetingsareheldinBrussels.
TheParliament,liketheotherinstitutions,wasnotdesignedinitscurrentformwhenitfirstmet
on 10 September 1952. One of the oldest common institutions, it began as theCommon
AssemblyoftheEuropeanCoalandSteelCommunity(ECSC). It was a consultative assembly of
78appointedparliamentariansdrawnfromthenationalparliamentsofmemberstates(seedual
mandate),havingnolegislativepowers.
Its development since its foundation is a testament to the evolution of theUnion'sstructures
without one clear "master plan". Some such as Tom Reid of theWashington Postsaid of the
union,"nobodywouldhavedeliberatelydesignedagovernmentascomplexandasredundant
astheEU".EventheParliament'stwoseats,whichhaveswitchedseveraltimes,arearesultof
variousagreementsorlackofagreements.AlthoughmostMEPswouldprefertobebasedjustin
Brussels, atJohn Major's 1992 Edinburghsummit, France engineered a treaty amendment to
maintainParliament'splenaryseatpermanentlyatStrasbourg.
ThebodywasnotmentionedintheoriginalSchumanDeclaration.Itwasassumedorhopedthat
difficulties with the British would be resolved to allow theCouncil of Europe's Assemblyto
performthetask.AseparateAssemblywasintroducedduringnegotiationsontheTreatyasan
institution which would counterbalance and monitor theexecutivewhile providing democratic
legitimacy.Its early importance was highlighted when the Assembly was given the task of
drawing up the draft treaty to establish a European Political Community. In this, the Ad Hoc
Assemblywasestablishedon13September1952[18]withextramembersbutafterthefailureof
theproposedEuropeanDefenceCommunitytheprojectwasdropped.
Session of the Council of Europe's Assembly in the formerHouse of Europein Strasbourg in
January1967.WillyBrandt,GermanministerforForeignAffairs,isspeaking.
Despite this theEuropean Economic CommunityandEuratomwere established in 1958 by
theTreatiesofRome.TheCommonAssemblywassharedbyallthreecommunities(whichhad
separate executives) and it renamed itself theEuropean Parliamentary Assembly.[The first
meetingwasheldon19March1958havingbeensetupinLuxembourg,itelectedSchumanas
itspresidentandon13Mayitrearrangeditselftositaccordingtopoliticalideologyratherthan
nationality.ThisisseenasthebirthofthemodernEuropeanParliament,withParliament's50
yearscelebrationsbeingheldinMarch2008ratherthan2002.
The three communitiesmergedtheir remaining organs as theEuropean Communitiesin 1967
and the body was renamed to the current "European Parliament" in 1962.In 1970 the
ParliamentwasgrantedpoweroverareasoftheCommunity'sbudget,whichwereexpandedto
the whole budget in 1975.Under the Rome Treaties, the Parliament should have become
elected.However,theCouncilwasrequiredtoagreeauniformvotingsystembeforehand,which
it failed to do. The Parliament threatened to take the Council to theEuropean Court of
JusticeleadingtoacompromisewherebytheCouncilwouldagreetoelections,buttheissueof
votingsystemswouldbeputofftillalaterdate.
Tomerge: to combine or join together, or to cause things to do this
Discussinpairsinordertoanswerthefollowingquestions:
1. WhatdoestheEuropeanParliamentrepreset?
2. Whatareitsfunction?
3. HowaretheMEPselected?
4. Wheredotheymeet?
Readthefollowingtext:
THECOUNCILOFTHEEUROPEANUNION
The Council of the European Union (often still referred to as the Council of Ministers, or
sometimesjustcalledtheCouncil(Latin:Consilium))isthethirdoftheseveninstitutionsofthe
European Union (EU) as listed in the Treaty on European Union. It is part of the essentially
bicameral EU legislature (the other legislative body being the European Parliament) and
representstheexecutivegovernmentsoftheEU'smemberstates.ItisbasedintheJustusLipsius
buildinginBrussels,Belgium.
The Council meets in 10 different configurations of 28 national ministers (one per state). The
precisemembershipoftheseconfigurationsvariesaccordingtothetopicunderconsideration;
for example, when discussing agricultural policy the Council is formed by the 28 national
ministers whose portfolio includes this policy area (with the related European Commissioners
contributingbutnotvoting).
ThePresidencyoftheCouncilrotateseverysixmonthsamongthegovernmentsofEUmember
states,withtherelevantministersoftherespectivecountryholdingthePresidencyatanygiven
timeensuringthesmoothrunningofthemeetingsandsettingthedailyagenda.Thecontinuity
betweenpresidenciesisprovidedbyanarrangementunderwhichthreesuccessivepresidencies,
known as Presidency trios, share common political programmes. The Foreign Affairs Council
(nationalforeignministers)ishoweverchairedbytheUnion'sHighRepresentative.
Itsdecisionsaremadebyqualifiedmajorityvotinginmostareas,unanimityinothers.Usually
whereitoperatesunanimously,itonlyneedstoconsulttheParliament.However,inmostareas
theordinarylegislativeprocedureappliesmeaningbothCouncilandParliamentsharelegislative
and budgetary powers equally, meaning both have to agree for a proposal to pass. In a few
limitedareastheCouncilmayinitiatenewEUlawitself.
TheGeneralSecretariatoftheCounciloftheEuropeanUnion,alsoknownasCouncilSecretariat,
assiststheCounciloftheEuropeanUnion,thePresidencyoftheCounciloftheEuropeanUnion,
theEuropeanCouncilandthePresidentoftheEuropeanCouncil.TheSecretariatisheadedby
the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union. The Secretariat is divided into
sevendirectorates-general,eachadministeredbyadirector-general.
Writeyourwrittenanswerstothefollowingquestions:
1. WhochairsthemeetingsoftheCounciloftheEuropeanUnion?
2. WhatarethemainfunctionsoftheCounciloftheEuropeanUnion?
Readthefollowingtext:
THEEUROPEANCOUNCIL
TheEuropeanCouncil,chargedwithdefiningtheEU'soverallpoliticaldirectionandpriorities,is
theinstitutionoftheEuropeanUnion(EU)thatcomprisestheheadsofstateorgovernmentof
the member states, along with President of the European Council and the President of the
European Commission. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security
Policyalsotakespartinitsmeetings.Establishedasaninformalsummitin1975,theEuropean
Councilwasformalisedasaninstitutionin2009uponentryintoforceoftheTreatyofLisbon.Its
currentPresidentisDonaldTusk.
WhiletheEuropeanCouncilhasnoformallegislativepower,itisastrategic(andcrisis-solving)
body that provides the union with general political directions and priorities, and acts as a
collectivepresidency.TheEuropeanCommissionremainsthesoleinitiatoroflegislation,butthe
EuropeanCouncilisabletoprovideanimpetustoguidelegislativepolicy.
ThemeetingsoftheEuropeanCouncil,stillcommonlyreferredtoasEUsummits,arechairedby
itspresidentandtakeplaceatleasttwiceeverysixmonths;usuallyintheJustusLipsiusbuilding,
theheadquartersoftheCounciloftheEuropeanUnioninBrussels.DecisionsoftheEuropean
Councilaretakenbyconsensus,exceptwheretheTreatiesprovideotherwise.
ThefirstsummitsofEUheadsofstateorgovernmentwereheldinFebruaryandJuly1961(in
Paris and Bonn respectively). They were informal summits of the leaders of the European
Community and were started due to then-French President Charles de Gaulle's resentment at
the domination of supranational institutions (e.g. the European Commission) over the
integrationprocess,butpeteredout.Thefirstinfluentialsummitheld,afterthedepartureofDe
Gaulle,wasTheHaguesummitof1969,whichreachedanagreementontheadmittanceofthe
United Kingdom into the Community and initiated foreign policy cooperation (the European
PoliticalCooperation)takingintegrationbeyondeconomics.
The summits were only formalised in the period between 1974 and 1988. At the December
summit in Paris in 1974, following a proposal from then-French president Valéry Giscard
d'Estaing,itwasagreedthatmorehighlevel,politicalinputwasneededfollowingthe"empty
chaircrisis"andeconomicproblems.TheinauguralEuropeanCouncil,asitbecameknown,was
held in Dublin on 10 and 11 March 1975 during Ireland's first Presidency of the Council of
Ministers.In1987,itwasincludedinthetreatiesforthefirsttime(theSingleEuropeanAct)and
had a defined role for the first time in the Maastricht Treaty. At first only a minimum of two
meetingsperyearwererequired,whichresultedinanaverageofthreemeetingsperyearbeing
held for the 1975-1995 period. Since 1996, the number of meetings were required to be
minimumfourperyear.Forthelatest2008-2014period,thisminimumwaswellexceeded,by
an average of seven meetings being held per year. The seat of the Council was formalised in
2002, basing it in Brussels. Three types of European Councils exist: Informal, Scheduled and
Extraordinary.Whiletheinformalmeetingsarealsoscheduled1½yearinadvance,theydiffer
from the scheduled ordinary meetings by not ending with official Council conclusions, as they
instead end by more broad political Statements on some cherry picked policy matters. The
extraordinary meetings always end with official Council conclusions - but differs from the
scheduledmeetingsbynotbeingscheduledmorethanayearinadvance,asforexamplein2001
when the European Council gathered to lead the European Union's response to the 11
Septemberattacks.
TickTRUE(T)orFALSE(F)tothesestatements.Workindividually:
1. TheEuropeanCouncilisasummitoftheEuropeanPresidentsorPrimeMinistersT
F
2. TheymeeteverymonthT
F
3. ItsroleistosetgeneralpoliticaldirectionsTF
4. ThePresidentoftheEuropeanCouncilistheHighRepresentativeforForeignAffairsand
SecurityPolicyTF

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