How the EU works

In this section, we collect links that explain how the different EU institutions function and give some historic background.
What does the EU do?
Why do we have the EU?
How are laws being made?

 

  • About the EU – basic information (in all 24 languages): Information on countries, EU symbols, the Euro, Eu budget, EU in figures, European history, EU presidents, institutions and bodies, agencies, working for and with the EU, EU funding and downloads of The General Report on the Activities of the European Union, The European Union – What it is and what it does and Europe in 12 lessons.
  • How the European Union works – Your guide to the EU institutions: This publication is a guide on how the European Union (EU) works. ‘How the EU works’ means how decisions are taken at EU level and who takes those decisions. At the heart of this decision-making process are the EU institutions — such as the Parliament, the Council and the European Commission — which you may have heard of, and there are others. To show how the EU works, this publication first explains how EU legislation is made. It then gives further insight into each of the EU institutions, as well as the agencies and bodies supporting them.
  • The EU at work (in all 24 languages): The European Union has its own legislature and executive, as well as an independent judiciary and a central bank. These are supported and complemented by a set of institutions and bodies, the powers conferred on which derive from the founding Treaties. The Union’s powers have evolved considerably over the years through the successive Treaties, as have its decision-making procedures, which Parliament and the Council now follow when legislating on most EU policies. The Union also has its own budget with which to achieve its objectives. The Lisbon Treaty gave Parliament an equal say with the Council to decide on the entire EU budget and the multiannual financial framework.
  • How the EU budget will be spent (in all 24 languages): The long-term budget sets out the EU’s long-term spending priorities and limits. The EU budget finances activities ranging from developing rural areas and conserving the environment to protecting external borders and promoting human rights. The Commission, the Council and Parliament all have a say in determining the size of the budget and how it is allocated. But it is the Commission that is responsible for spending. The EU countries and the Commission share responsibility for about 80% of the budget. This page contains drafting the budget, managing EU funds and what the money goes on.