How the EU Works
T his piece sets out the different organisations, and key words that the EU and its institutions use for you to gain a greater understanding of the set up

A directive is a legal act of the European Union, which requires member states to achieve a particular result without dictating the means of achieving that result. It can be distinguished from regulations which are self-executing and do not require any implementing measures.

A regulation is a legal act of the European Union that becomes immediately enforceable as law in all member states simultaneously. Regulations can be distinguished from directives which, at least in principle, need to be transposed into national law.

According to Article 13 of the Treaty on European Union, the institutional framework comprises 7 institutions

The European Commission (EC) is the executive body of the European Union responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.>sup###[2] Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, pledging to respect the treaties and to be completely independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate. The Commission operates as a cabinet government, with 28 members of the Commission (informally known as "commissioners").There is one member per member state, but members are bound by their oath of office to represent the general interest of the EU as a whole rather than their home state.[3] One of the 28 is the Commission President (currently Jean-Claude Juncker) proposed by the European Council and elected by the European Parliament.[5] The Council then appoints the other 27 members of the Commission in agreement with the nominated President, and the 28 members as a single body are then subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament.[6] The current Commission is the Juncker Commission, which took office in late 2014.

The European Parliament (EP) is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union (EU). Together with the Council of the European Union (the Council) and the European Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU. The Parliament is composed of 751 (previously 766) members, who represent the second largest democratic electorate in the world (after the Parliament of India) and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world (375 million eligible voters in 2009).>sup### It has been directly elected every five years by universal suffrage since 1979. However, turnout at European Parliament elections has fallen consecutively at each election since that date, and has been under 50% since 1999. Turnout in 2014 stood at 42.54% of all European voters.

The European Council is the institution of the European Union (EU) that comprises the heads of state or government of 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 Policy also takes part in its meetings.>sup###[1] Established as an informal summit in 1975, the European Council was formalised as an institution in 2009 upon entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. Its current President is Donald Tusk.

THE Court of Auditors (European Court of Auditors ECA) is the fifth institution of the European Union (EU). It was established in 1975 in Luxembourg to audit the accounts of EU institutions. The Court is composed of one member from each EU member state, one of whom is chosen to be its president. The current president is Vítor Manuel da Silva Caldeira since 2008.The Court of Auditors was created by the 1975 Budgetary Treaty and was formally established on 18 October 1977, holding its first session a week later. At that time the Court was not a formal institution, it was an external body designed to audit the finances of the European Communities. It replaced two separate audit bodies, one which dealt with the finances of the European Economic Community and Euratom and one which dealt with the European Coal and Steel Community.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) (French: Cour de justice de l'Union européenne) is the institution of the European Union (EU) that encompasses the whole judiciary.Seated in Luxembourg, Luxembourg, it consists of three separate courts: the Court of Justice, the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal.[1][2]CJEU is the chief judicial authority of the European Union and oversees the uniform application and interpretation of European Union law, in cooperation with the national judiciary of the member states.[2] CJEU also resolves legal disputes between national governments and EU institutions, and may take action against EU institutions on behalf of individuals, companies or organisations whose rights have been infringed.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank for the euro and administers monetary policy of the Eurozone, which consists of 19 EU member states and is one of the largest currency areas in the world. It is one of the world's most important central banks and is one of the seven institutions of the European Union (EU) listed in the Treaty on European Union (TEU). The capital stock of the bank is owned by the central banks of all 28 EU member states.>sup###[dated info] The Treaty of Amsterdam established the bank in 1998, and it is headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany. As of 2015 the President of the ECB is Mario Draghi, former governor of the Bank of Italy, former member of the World Bank,[2] and former managing director of the Goldman Sachs international division (2002–2005).[2][3] The bank primarily occupied the Eurotower prior to, and during, the construction of the new headquarters.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR; French: Cour européenne des droits de l’homme) is a supra-national or international court established by the European Convention on Human Rights. It hears applications alleging that a contracting state has breached one or more of the human rights provisions concerning civil and political rights set out in the Convention and its protocols. An application can be lodged by an individual, a group of individuals or one or more of the other contracting states, and, besides judgments, the Court can also issue advisory opinions. The Convention was adopted within the context of the Council of Europe, and all of its 47 member states are contracting parties to the Convention. The Court is based in Strasbourg, France.

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