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POLS432PP_11 - The Institutions of the European Union The...

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Unformatted text preview: The Institutions of the European Union The Best of the Rest The Other Institutions of the European Union The European Council The European Court of Justice The European Court of Auditors The European Central Bank The European Council Also known as the European Summit, now an official institution of the European Union The first councils were held in 1961 (Paris and Bonn) The first influential summit was held in The Hague in 1969 The summits were formalized in 1974 The European Council First mention in the treaties of the European Union in the Single European Act Given its first formal role in the Maastricht treaty Now the European Council meets about four times a year History of the European Council The Council Meetings are seen by some as turning points in the history of the European Union 1969, The Hague: Foreign policy and enlargement 1974, Paris: Creation of the Council 1985, Milan: Initiate IGC leading to the Single European Act 1991, Maastricht: Agreement on the Maastricht Treaty 1997, Amsterdam: Agreement on the Amsterdam Treaty 1998, Brussels: Selected member states to adopt the euro 1999; Cologne: Declaration on military forces 1999, Tampere: Institutional reform 2000, Lisbon: Lisbon Strategy 2002, Copenhagen: Agreement for May 2004 enlargement Peter van Grinsven (2003) Powers and Functions "The European Council shall provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development and shall define the general political guidelines thereof" To give the general impetus and social, economic and political guidance in all areas of European Union activities at both European and national levels Composition Consists of the heads of state or government of the Union, plus the Commission President (non-voting) Meetings can also include national ministers, including foreign ministers, other leading national positions and Commissioners as required The Secretary General of the Council (and his/her deputy) is also a regular attendee Future of the European Council The European Council would become an official institution under the Reform Treaty A fixed president with a renewable term of two and a half years Extension of powers to the European Council The European Court of Justice Formally known as the Court of Justice of the European Communities Has the final word on whether EU law is being applied equally across EU member states Founded in 1952 as part of the European Coal and Steel Community Powers and Functions To ensure that the law is observed in the interpretation and application of the Treaties of the European Union and of the provisions laid down by the competent Community institutions Jurisdiction of the Court To enable it to carry out that task, the Court has wide jurisdiction to hear various types of action The Court has competence to rule on: Applications for annulment or actions for failure to act brought by a Member State or an institution Actions against Member States for failure to fulfill obligations References for a preliminary ruling and Appeals against decisions of the Court of First Instance Composition As of January 1, 2007: The Court of Justice is made up of 27 Judges and 8 Advocates General The Judges and Advocates General are appointed by common accord of the governments of the member states and hold office for a renewable term of six years Each member state of the European Union has the power to nominate one judge, so their number coincides most of the time with the number of member states President of the Court The President of the Court of Justice is elected from among the judges every three years (renewable term) The president presides over hearings and deliberations, directing judicial business and administration Criticisms of the Court Interpretation of the Treaties of the European Union Increasing the competences of the European Union at the expense of national governments The Court of First Instance Created to decrease the workload of the European Court of Justice In order to fulfill its main task, the Court of First Instance has jurisdiction to hear and determine at first instance all direct actions brought by individuals and the Member States Categories of Direct Action Actions for annulment Actions for failure to act Actions for damages Actions based on an arbitration clause Court of Auditors The Court's purpose "is to audit independently the collection and spending of European Union funds and, through this, assess the way that the European Institutions discharge these functions" The Court has one member from each EU country, appointed by the Council for a renewable term of six years following a hearing at the European Parliament Functions of the Court of Auditors To help the budgetary authority by presenting them every year with a report on the previous financial year together with a statement of assurance To check that the EU budget is correctly implemented To ensure the Commission's sound financial management of European Union funds European Central Bank (ECB) Responsible for monetary policy covering the 13 member countries of the Eurozone Governed by a board of directors, headed by a President, and a board of governors Consisting of the members of the board of directors and representatives of the local central banks within the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) Functions of the ECB The primary objective of the ECB is "to maintain price stability" within the euro area This means keeping inflation low The present target is to keep inflation below, but close to, 2% In addition, the bank has to support the economic policies of the European Union These are designed to foster a high level of employment and sustainable and non-inflationary economic growth Tools of the ECB Lending money to private banks overnight Injecting money into the banking system Private banks depositing money into the ECB overnight If you want to read the monetary policy of the ECB, go to: http://www.ecb.europa.eu/ecb/legal/pdf/l_03020060202en00260029.pdf Criticisms of the ECB The vagueness of the ECB inflation policy The independence of the ECB European System of Central Banks (ESCB) The basic tasks to be carried out by the Eurosystem are: to define and implement the monetary policy of the eurozone to conduct foreign exchange operations to hold and manage the official foreign reserves of the Member States to promote the smooth operation of payment systems Organization Executive Board Governing Council ...
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