Public Services

Unit 8
International perspectives for the uniformed public services
Assignment 2
EU Structure and impact of decisions

Structure of the EU
The European Union has four main parts, the Council of Ministers, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice.
The Council
The Council is the main decision-making body of the European Union. The council will regularly meet in Brussels or Luxembourg to discuss and agree policy and legislation. The Council brings together heads of state and ministers from member countries, along with the President of the European Commission. Each member state holds the Presidency of the Council for six months in rotation.

The European Commission
The Commission is the administrative and executive body of the European Union. Its headquarters are also in Brussels, where the majority of its 20,000 staff are based. The Commission is charged with drafting initial proposals for legislation and policy for consideration by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. There are currently 25 Commissioners, one for each member state. The Commissioners serve for five years and are nominated by national governments.

The European Parliament
The Parliament consists of over 700 MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) from each of the member states. MEPs are elected for a five-year term. When the EU was enlarged in 2004, membership increased from 626 to 732 MEPs with the UK currently having 78. Working in Brussels and Strasbourg, the Parliament scrutinises the activities of other EU institutions, passes the annual EU budget, and shapes and decides new legislation jointly with the Council of Ministers. The Parliament has a staff of about 4,200.

The European Court of Justice
The Court, who has a judge from each member state, adjudicates on all legal issues and disputes involving Community law. The 25 judges and eight advocates-general, who are appointed by member states, give an initial ruling on...