EU law


I   Introduction

II The nature of the EU institutions

III The division of powers theory and the balance of powers in the EU

IV Inter-institutional legislative process

V  Balance of powers between the EU institutions

VI Conclusion

VII Bibliography

"The process of European Union is like the Rhine flowing to the sea. Anyone who stands in its way is crushed against the river bank".

          Helmut Kohl, German Chancellor

History of humanity is continuous chain of conflicts, wars, and attempts to invade neighboring country. Even nowadays there are some States that desire to seize the entire world, but nevertheless the world is changing for the better. Before the colonization policy was prospering, but now it is considered as an indecency. If previously states used to live isolate then now there is a tendency of integration. People have come to the understanding that in order to survive there is a need of unification, universal agreement. Striking example of such unification is European Union.

 The structure of the European Union itself is illustrated as “Three pillars” which covers tasks, objectives, principles, community and intergovernmental integration method.   First pillar embraces European Community; the second pillar is Common and Foreign security policy; the third one is Police and Judicial cooperation in Criminal Matter.  

European institutions are common to all three pillars. Actually the EU realizes the activity through its own bodies. In particular, EU’s terms of reference covers above mentioned institutions.

As for the structure of EU, its organizational mechanism consists of 2 parts:

  1. Leading, endowed by imperious privileges, named as institutions. There are 5 of them in the European Union:
  • European  Parliament  
  • The Council
  • European Commission
  • European Court of Justice
  • The Court of auditors
  1. Other bodies are characterized by variety of organizational – legal forms and common conditions of activity. Many of so-called “other bodies” are established by the institutions.

For instance European inspector on data protection – independent body of control on loyalty and    freedom of person in informational sphere.

In this coursework I shall consider mostly the three main institutions of the European Union (The Council, Commission and EU Parliament). Specifically, I shall concentrate on  the respective roles played by the institutions in the legislative decision -making process, by the powers vested on them. Also the point of reforms in those process to be discussed.

It should be noticed that there is no traditional separation of powers within the EU, but rather a form of EU institutions integration. The classic doctrine of powers division states “in order to avoid the power abuse there is a need of such system which would allow different branches of power to restrain each other” 1 and in this sense it cannot be fully applicable in the European Union. Actually the EU has collided not exactly with the problem of separation of powers, but with the balanced powers distribution. The main objective of the Union is not “in prevention of public power usurpation, but in the securing of equilibrium in powers combination, appurtenant to the communities and Union on the one hand and sovereign states on the other”2. Meaning that the main task is exclusion of abundant strengthening of institutions and allotment of such powers that would permit to accomplish all aims and objectives, caused by the integration itself.

There is no single law making body in the EU and the law-making task shared between the three institutions. It is known as the inter-institutional legislative process. The role and power of each institution will vary in respect of the procedure used.


 1 Montesquieu (1689-1755)

2 Entin L., 2007. European Law. 

 There are six legislative procedures that have to be identified:

  • Commission acting alone. Article 86 of EC Treaty allows the commission to make legislation on a limited number of subject matters without interference from the other institutions.
  • Council and commission acting alone. In some areas only the council and commission will be permitted to act without any intervention from the EP.
  • Consultation procedure. The council have to wait for parliament’s opinion in the consultative procedure.
  • Co-operation procedure (Article 252 EC Treaty)
  • Co-decision Procedure (Article 251 EC Treaty)
  • Assent procedure constitutes a veto right, rather than a co – decision. When assent is required, the Council may act only after obtaining an agreement of Parliament.
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Next stage is consideration of the institutions of the EU and the balance of powers between them:

The Council (or the Council of Ministers) is the main law-making body of the EU. According to article 146 of the EU Treaty the Council consists of the representatives of each Member State at ministerial level, authorized to commit the government of that Member State. Initially members of the Council were ministers of foreign affairs of the member states. However it was revealed that such approach is ineffective by the reason of that the Council fulfils the legislative power and the prerogative of ...

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