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  1. 1. European Union Institutions By Mrs Hilton No 1 in a series of 3 presentations: 1. EU Institutions 2. How EU Laws are made 3. Types of EU laws (which you will make!)
  2. 2. Learning objectives To be able to discuss the two 1. roles of the EU commission 2. To be able to identify the role of the EP 3. To be able to illustrate the roles of the ECJ with cases
  3. 3. Why is the EU interesting to law students? It makes laws relating to a wide range  of issues ◦ E.g. Environment ◦ E.g. Rights of workers
  4. 4. EU Institutions  The EU is made up of 4 institutions: 1. EU Commission 2. European Parliament (EP) 3. Council of Ministers 4. European court of Justice (ECJ) (EECE)
  5. 5. EU Commission 27 independent commissioners   Work for good of EU rather than member states  Commission has 2 main roles ◦ Initiator of new laws (creating new laws for benefit of EU member states) ◦ Guardian of the treaties (making sure EU law enforced)
  6. 6. Read What’s wrong with our food? 
  7. 7. European Parliament 1 785 members of the EP called Meps   Elected every 5 years in their member states  Allocated seats in proportion to their country population  May join a political party or remain independent  Co-decides laws on education and culture
  8. 8. European Parliament 2 They elect a president:  Hans Gert-Pottering Read Press Release
  9. 9. European Parliament 3 They have power to  ◦ Reject Commissions’ proposed EU budget ◦ Hold the Commission and Council of Minsters accountable ◦ Dismiss the whole Commission ◦ Read World: Europe crackdown on Euro- Sleaze to find out what happened in 1999
  10. 10. Council of Ministers 1 27 Ministers one from each member  state  Changes depending on what is being discussed ◦ E.g. Farming matters – minister for rural affairs will attend COM decides which of the  Commissions proposals should be made law
  11. 11. Council of Minsters 2 The Council has legislative power, which it shares with the European  Parliament under the ‘co-decision procedure’. In addition to this, the Council and the Parliament share equal responsibility for adopting the EU budget. The Council also concludes international agreements that have been negotiated by the Commission. According to the Treaties, the Council has to take its decisions either  by a simple majority vote, a ‘qualified majority’ vote or unanimously, depending on the subject to be decided. The Council has to agree unanimously on important questions such  as amending the Treaties, launching a new common policy or allowing a new country to join the Union. In most other cases, qualified majority voting is used. This means  that a Council decision is adopted if a specified minimum number of votes are cast in its favour. The number of votes allocated to each EU country roughly reflects the size of its population.
  12. 12. Council of Ministers Also known as the Council of the European Union
  13. 13. Number of votes for each country in the Council Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom 29 Spain and Poland 27 Romania 14 Netherlands 13 Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Portugal 12 Austria, Bulgaria and Sweden 10 Denmark, Ireland, Lithuania, Slovakia and Finland 7 Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg and Slovenia 4 Malta 3 Total: 345 (need 255 for majority)
  14. 14. European Court of Justice 1 The ECJ is in Luxembourg   27 judges hold high judicial positions in home country  Judges appointed for 6 year term  Assisted by 8 Advocates General (Lawyers) ◦ Research cases sent to court ◦ Produce written opinions – which help member states work out precedent set by the case
  15. 15. ECJ 2 2 roles  ◦ Judicial role ◦ Supervisory role
  16. 16. ECJ Judicial role To decide cases brought against  member states or EU institutions (Commission can make states comply)
  17. 17. Re Tachographs: EC Commission v UK (1979) The UK was not complying with strict EU transport laws, which required HGVs to be fitted with a tachograph machine to limit number of hours a driver is allowed on road without a break. The ECJ forced the UK to abide by law.
  18. 18. ECJ Supervisory role Where a case being heard in a member state court  – concerning EU law can be referred to ECJ for a decision Highest court in member state will make the  referral Must be on a question of EU Law  Not for people wanting to take appeal higher than  HOL Read Adidas case 
  19. 19. Marshall v Southampton Area Health Authority (1986) Marshall had been forced to retire from her job. In the UK the retirement age for men was 65 years old, yet for women it was 60 years old. Marshall argued that her employer would not have been able to treat a man the same way. As this case involved EU laws regarding sex discrimination, the HOL referred the case to the ECJ fir a decision. The ECJ agreed that Marshall should win her case. The UK then had to change the retirement age making it same for men and women.
  20. 20. Quiz What case illustrates the judicial role of the ECJ? 1. What case illustrates the supervisory role of the ECJ? 2. Why did the whole Commission resign in 1999? 3. What happened when France refused to lift the British 4. beef ban in 1999? What are the two roles of the commission? 5. How many Advocates General are there, and what do 6. they do? If the Commission initiates new laws – what does the 7. Council of Minsters do? Does the EP have the power to dismiss the whole 8. Commission? How many MEPs are there? And why are there that 9. many?
  21. 21. Answers Re Tachographs: EC Commission v UK (1979) 1. Marshall v Southampton Area Health Authority (1986) 2. Over sleaze allegations 3. The Commission commenced proceedings against France 4. Initiator of new laws / Guardian of the treaties 5. 8 Ags and they research cases sent to court and produce 6. written opinions to support judges in ECJ Decides which of the Commissions proposals should be 7. made into law Yes 8. 785 elected every 5 years from member states, allocated 9. seats in proportion to population.