English Legal System - The Evolution of the EU and Principal Institutions (Part 2)

The Commission

The Commission composes of twenty (20) Commissioners, nationals and appointed by the Member States for five (5) year renewable periods at a time.
There is at least one (1) Commissioner from each Member State (smaller states) - France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK having two (2) Commissioners each.

The Commissioners do not represent their own States but are independent having taken the oath of independence in their role to represent the interest of the European Union overall.
Each of the Commissioners is responsible for at least one (1) of the departments which there are 36 all together.

The Commissions functions include instigating legislative proposals for the approval of the Council and the application of European Community law.

The European Parliament

European Parliament shares the power to legislate with the Council.
It is composed of members who are directly elected in their own countries, elections held every five (5) years. The numbers of members representing each Member State will vary according to population size.

In certain areas the European Parliament has in effect a right to veto.
It also approves the budget. It exercises supervision over the Commission. Approves the nomination of Commissioners. It also has a right to censure the Commission. Exercises political supervision over all the institutions.

The Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECJ)

It sits in Luxembourg.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) functions as a supervisor for the uniform application of European Union law and by doing so it creates case law. Majority of cases brought before the ECJ are by member states and institutions of the Community, or are referred to it by national courts.

In its judiciary role it hears cases of disputes between parties – proceedings against a member states or proceedings against EU institutions.
The proceedings against a member state may be brought by the Commission or by other member states involving alleged breaches of EU law by the country in question.

The Council of Auditors

Plans for future reforms

The European Union is set to expand still further there are proposals for reform, and attempts are being made towards a European Constitution.
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