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POL S 448: Politics of the EU Fall Term 2013 8 October 2013 Dr Frank Wendler

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Understanding the institutions of the EU The institutional balance of the EU Exercising influence in the EU

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Reading questions for next time

European Council !! Council of Ministers !! European Commission !! European Parliament !! European Court of Justice
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Their roles, competences and interaction are prescribed in the EU Treaties, last modified through the Treaty of Lisbon (in force since December 2009)

Strasbourg / France

Brussels / Belgium

Justus Lipsius Building hosting the Council on the left, European Commission Building to the Right Brussels, Belgium Main Meeting Room

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What functions to they have? Who do they represent? How can they be led politically? How are they legitimized?

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European Council

!! Political leadership of EU !! Authorization of fundamental decisions concerning EU !! Legislative decision-making, together with EP !! Conduct of executive tasks (foreign policy, EMU, etc.) !! Preparation of specific legislative proposals !! Oversight of implementation of EU decisions !! Limited competences of direct intervention in Single Market !! Legislative decision-making, together with Council !! Scrutiny of executive, particularly European Commission !! (Representation and debate) !! Sanctioning of Member State compliance with EU law !! Settlement of disputes between MSs and EU institutions !! Interpretation of European law (primary & secondary law)

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Council of Ministers

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European Commission

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European Parliament

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European Court of Justice

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European Council

!! Members are Heads of Government of Member States, representing national interests !! 11 different sectoral Councils !! Members are Ministers from national governments of Member States, representing national interests !! European Commissioners and administrative services: required to serve and represent the Community interests, defined in the EU Treaties !! Members of Parliament represent European citizens !! Representations is organized mainly in competing party political groups (Conservative, Socialist, Green, Liberal, Left, nationalist/Eurosceptic) !! Judges stand for independent legal scrutiny, based on European law as defined in the EU Treaties (primary law) and legislative acts (secondary law)

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Council of Ministers

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European Commission European Parliament

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European Court of Justice

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European Council

!! President of the European Council (H. vam Rompuy), acting as chairman and mediator !! 6-month rotating presidency taken on by one of the EU Member States, acting as chairmen and mediator in Council meetings !! President of the European Commission (J. Barroso) and College of 27 Commissioners, 1 from each Member State, providing political leadership of Commission !! President (M. Schulz) and Vice-Presidents of the EP !! Leaders of parliamentary party groups !! Committee chairpersons !! President elected by the Judges

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Council of Ministers

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European Commission

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European Parliament

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European Court of Justice

H. Van Rompuy, President of the European Council

J. Barroso, President of the European Commission

M. Schulz, President of the European Parliament

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European Council

!! President of the EC: elected by Council Members !! Members of EC: accountable to national institutions & voters of Member States !! Members of Council: accountable to national institutions and voters of Member States !! Commission President and Commissioners: controlled and elected by European Parliament, following a proposal by the European Council !! Members of Parliament: directly elected by European citizens !! EP President, party group leaders: elected through internal procedure !! One Judge appointed per Member State !! Appointment by common accord of Member States, based on decisions by panels consisting of ECJ judges and legal experts from Member States !! Judges are legitimized through their judicial expertise and independence

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Council of Ministers

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European Commission European Parliament

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European Court of Justice

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Vertical balance

!! Intergovernmental institutions !! Supranational institutions

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Horizontal balance

!! Executive institutions !! Legislative institutions !! Judicial institutions

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How is it changed?

!! Mainly through the revision of the EU Treaties !! Political practice plays a role, too (ie., to what degree Member States are willing to follow initiatives by the European Commission) !! Amount and scope of competences assigned to EU !! Involvement of the European Parliament in decision-making !! Voting rules: !! Unanimity !! Qualified majority (ca. 2/3 in favour) !! Double majority (introduced by Lisbon Treaty: 55 % of Member States, representing 65 % of EU population) !! simple majority (50 % + 1 vote)

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Factors affecting the institutional balance

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Great amount and diversity of actors High consensus requirements Involvement of several territorial levels Constant evolution of membership and decision-making rules

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Hard sources of influence

!! Veto rights / voting weight !! Size of economy and population !! Contribution to EU budget !! Staff and administrative resources !! Ability to build coalitions / negotiation skills !! Domestic pressures / Eurosceptic publics !! Expertise !! Reputation as honest broker and mediator

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Soft sources of influence

Does the EU soften power differentials between the Member States?

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Hard sources of influence

!! Monopoly of legislative initiative !! Oversight of compliance by Member States

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Soft sources of influence

!! Timing of decision-making !! Agenda control !! Expertise !! Forging of coalitions supporting EU legislation

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What institutional elements have the EU have changed most over time? Why is the current legal base for the EU the Lisbon Treaty characterized as a turn back to the basics? How do institutions, interests and ideas contribute to the development of the EU?

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