Friday, April 8, 2011

Presentation about the UN and the EU

This is the Powerpoint presentation we have used this week to study the UN and the EU. Please, have a look on the last slides, which refer to the institutions of the European Union. It´s a little bit complicated, because different institutions hold executive power: 

- The Consilium or Council of the European Union: it´s the main decision making body of the Union. It´s formed by the ministers of the member States. Since the signature of the Lisbon Treaty, the Council has a permanent president, the Belgian Herman Van Rompuy, informally known as the President of the EU. At the same time, the presidency is held for six months by each member State on a rotational basis. From January to June 2011 the Presidency corresponds to Hungary. 

- The European Council: it´s the group formed by the heads of State or government of the EU. They are responsible for defining the general political direction and the priorities of the EU. It´s also presided by the President of the Consilium (Van Rompuy). The High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (Catherine Ashton, British ) and the president of the Commission (José Manuel Durao Barroso) take part in the meetings as well. 

- The European Commission: it´s the executive branch of the EU. It´s similar to the government of the EU. The "ministers" are called commissioners and its president is the Portuguese José Manuel Durao Barroso. There is one commissioner per member State (27 at present). One of the vice-presidents is the Spanish Joaquín Almunia, who holds the Competition portfolio.

The legislative power is held by the European Parliament, formed by 736 members elected by the EU citizens every 5 years. Spain has 54 representatives in the European Parliament. 

And the judicial power is held by the European Court of Justice. 


Enrique Vázquez said...

Hello Paqui this is very interesting, but I think Van Rompuy holds a lot of power. I think the power have to be more distributed.
More or less I understand this.
Bye Paqui.

Paqui Pérez Fons said...

The president of the EU is a representative figure. He doesn´t have much power. It´s only the "face" of the EU in the world. The European Council and the Parliament hold the real power in the EU. There is a lot of bureaucracy, a lot of different institutions doing the same things. This partly shows that nationalism is one of the most important problems for the efectiveness of the UE. Instead of having one only voice, we have many institutions with their own voices and the most powerful countries speak louder that the other ones (Germany, France, the UK...). There are also blocks inside the EU (the countries of the East vote together many times...)... Very complicated. This is another reason to explain why citizens feel so far from the EU institutions.

Thanks for giving your opinion.