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European union:

European union Eman youssif

The European Union (EU) is a politico-economic union of 28 member states that are primarily located in Europe.[12][13] The EU operates through a system of supranational independent institutions and intergovernmental negotiated decisions by the member states.[14][15] Institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, the Court of Auditors, and the European Parliament. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens.:

The  European Union  ( EU ) is a  politico - economic  union of 28  member states  that are  primarily  located in  Europe . [12] [13]  The EU operates through a system of  supranational  independent institutions and  intergovernmental  negotiated decisions by the member states. [14] [15]   Institutions of the EU  include the  European Commission , the  Council of the European Union , the  European Council , the  Court of Justice of the European Union , the  European Central Bank , the  Court of Auditors , and the  European Parliament . The European Parliament is elected every five years by  EU citizens .

The institutions of the European Union are the seven principal decision making bodies of the European Union. They are, as listed in Article 13 of the Treaty on European Union: the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the Court of Auditors.[1] Institutions are different fromagencies of the European Union.:

The  institutions of the European Union  are the seven principal decision making bodies of the  European Union . They are, as listed in Article 13 of the  Treaty on European Union : the  European Parliament , the  European Council , the  Council of the European Union , the  European Commission , the  Court of Justice of the European Union , the  European Central Bank  and the  Court of Auditors . [1]  Institutions are different from agencies of the European Union .

Most EU institutions were created with the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in the 1950s. Much change since then has been in the context the shifting of the power balance away from the Council and towards the Parliament. The role of the Commission has often been to mediate between the two or tip the balance.[2] However the Commission is becoming more accountable to the Parliament: in 1999 it forced the resignation of the Santer Commission[3] and forced a reshuffle of the proposed Barroso Commission in 2004.[4] The development of the institutions, with incremental changes from treaties and agreements, is testament to the evolution of the Union's structures without one clear "master plan". Some such as Tom Reid of the Washington Post said of the institutions that "nobody would have deliberately designed a government as complex and as redundant as the EU":

Most EU institutions were created with the establishment of the  European Coal and Steel Community  (ECSC) in the 1950s. Much change since then has been in the context the shifting of the power balance away from the Council and towards the Parliament. The role of the Commission has often been to mediate between the two or tip the balance. [2]  However the Commission is becoming more accountable to the Parliament: in 1999 it forced the resignation of the  Santer Commission [3]  and forced a reshuffle of the proposed  Barroso Commission  in 2004. [4]  The development of the institutions, with incremental changes from treaties and agreements, is testament to the evolution of the Union's structures without one clear "master plan". Some such as Tom Reid of the  Washington Post  said of the institutions that "nobody would have deliberately designed a government as complex and as redundant as the EU"

The first institutions were created at the start of the 1950s with the creation of the ECSC, based on theSchuman declaration, between six states. The ECSC was designed to bring the markets of coal and steel, the materials needed to wage war, under the control of a supranational authority with the aim of encouraging peace and economic development. It established the first institutions. At its core was an independent executive called the "High Authority" with supranational powers over the Community. The laws made by the Authority would be observed by a Court of Justice in order to ensure they were upheld and to arbitrate.[6] During the negotiations, two supervisory institutions were put forward to counterbalance the power of the High Authority. The "Common Assembly" proposed by Jean Monnet to act as a monitor, counterweight and to add democratic legitimacy was composed of 78 national parliamentarians.[7] The second was the Council of Ministers, pushed by the smaller states also to add an intergovernmental element and harmonise national polices with those of the authority. :

The first institutions were created at the start of the 1950s with the creation of the ECSC, based on the Schuman declaration , between  six states . The ECSC was designed to bring the markets of coal and steel, the materials needed to wage war, under the control of a  supranational  authority with the aim of encouraging peace and economic development. It established the first institutions. At its core was an independent executive called the " High Authority " with supranational powers over the Community. The laws made by the Authority would be observed by a Court of Justice in order to ensure they were upheld and to arbitrate. [6] During the negotiations, two supervisory institutions were put forward to counterbalance the power of the High Authority. The "Common Assembly" proposed by  Jean Monnet  to act as a monitor, counterweight and to add democratic legitimacy was composed of 78 national parliamentarians. [7]  The second was the Council of Ministers, pushed by the smaller states also to add an  intergovernmental  element and harmonise national polices with those of the authority.

In 1957 the Treaties of Rome established two, similar, communities creating a common market (European Economic Community) and promoting atomic energy co-operation (Euratom). The three institutions shared the Court of Justice and the Parliament, however they had a separate Council and High Authority, which was called the Commission in these Communities. The reason for this is the different relationship between the Commission and Council. At the time the French government was suspicious of the supranationalism and wanted to limit the powers of the High Authority in the new Communities, giving the Council a greater role in checking the executive.[8][9][10] The three communities were later merged in 1967, by the Merger Treaty, into the European Communities. The institutions were carried over from the European Economic Community (making the Commission of that community the direct ancestor of the current Commission).[9] Under the Treaties of Rome, the Common Assembly (which renamed itself the Parliamentary Assembly, and then the European Parliament) was supposed to become elected. However this was delayed by the Council until 1979. Since then it gained more powers via successive treaties.[2][7] The Maastricht Treaty also gave further powers to the Council by giving it a key role in the two new pillars of the EU which were based on intergovernmental principles. :

In 1957 the  Treaties of Rome  established two, similar, communities creating a common market ( European Economic Community ) and promoting atomic energy co-operation ( Euratom ). The three institutions shared the Court of Justice and the Parliament, however they had a separate Council and High Authority, which was called the Commission in these Communities. The reason for this is the different relationship between the Commission and Council. At the time the French government was suspicious of the supranationalism and wanted to limit the powers of the High Authority in the new Communities, giving the Council a greater role in checking the executive. [8] [9] [10] The three communities were later merged in 1967, by the  Merger Treaty , into the European Communities. The institutions were carried over from the European Economic Community (making the Commission of that community the direct ancestor of the current Commission). [9]  Under the Treaties of Rome, the Common Assembly (which renamed itself the Parliamentary Assembly, and then the European Parliament) was supposed to become elected. However this was delayed by the Council until 1979. Since then it gained more powers via successive treaties. [2] [7]  The  Maastricht Treaty  also gave further powers to the Council by giving it a key role in the  two new pillars  of the EU which were based on intergovernmental principles.

The 2009 Lisbon Treaty brought nearly all policy areas (including the budget) under the codecision procedure (renamed "ordinary legislative procedure"), hence increasing the power of the Parliament. The rules for the distribution of seats in the parliament were also changed to a formula system.[11][12] The High Representative merged with the European Commissioner for External Relations and joined the Commission. The appointment of the Commission President became dependent upon the last EU elections. The Council of Ministers adopted more qualified majority voting and the European Council was made a distinct institution with a permanent president. The Court of Justice had some minor renaming and adjustments. In addition, the central bank became a full institution:

The 2009  Lisbon Treaty  brought nearly all policy areas (including the budget) under the codecision procedure (renamed " ordinary legislative procedure "), hence increasing the power of the  Parliament . The rules for the distribution of seats in the parliament were also changed to a formula system. [11] [12]  The  High Representative  merged with the  European Commissioner for External Relations  and joined the Commission. The appointment of the  Commission President  became dependent upon the last  EU elections . The  Council of Ministers  adopted more  qualified majority voting  and the  European Council  was made a distinct institution with a permanent president. The Court of Justice had some minor renaming and adjustments. In addition, the central bank became a full institution

There are three political institutions which hold the executive and legislative power of the Union. The Council represents governments, the Parliament represents citizens and the Commission represents the European interest.[13] Essentially, the Council, Parliament or another party place a request for legislation to the Commission. The Commission then drafts this and presents it to the Parliament and Council, where in most cases both must give their assent. Although the exact nature of this depends upon the legislative procedure in use, once it is approved and signed by both bodies it becomes law.[14] The Commission's duty is to ensure it is implemented by dealing with the day-to-day running of the Union and taking others to Court if they fail to comply.:

There are three political institutions which hold the executive and legislative power of the Union. The Council represents governments, the Parliament represents citizens and the Commission represents the European interest. [13]  Essentially, the Council, Parliament or another party place a request for legislation to the Commission. The Commission then drafts this and presents it to the Parliament and Council, where in most cases both must give their assent. Although the exact nature of this depends upon the  legislative procedure  in use, once it is approved and signed by both bodies it becomes law. [14]  The Commission's duty is to ensure it is implemented by dealing with the day-to-day running of the Union and taking others to Court if they fail to comply .

The European Parliament (EP) shares the legislative and budgetary authority of the Union with the Council of the European Union (not to be confused with the European Council). Its 751 members are elected every five years byuniversal suffrage and sit according to political allegiance. They represent nearly 500 million citizens (the world's second largest democratic electorate) and form the only directly elected body in the Union. Despite forming one of the two legislative chambers of the Union, it has weaker powers than the Council in some sensitive areas, and does not havelegislative initiative. It does, however, have powers over the Commission which the Council does not. It has been said that its democratic nature and growing powers have made it one of the most powerful legislatures in the world.[14][15][16] The Parliament's President (its speaker) is Martin Schulz (S&D/PES), who was elected from the Parliament's members in 2012. :

The  European Parliament  ( EP ) shares the  legislative  and budgetary authority of the Union with the Council of the European Union (not to be confused with the  European Council ). Its 751  members  are elected every five years by universal suffrage  and sit according to  political allegiance . They represent nearly 500 million  citizens  (the world's second largest democratic electorate) and form the only directly elected body in the Union. Despite forming one of the  two legislative chambers  of the Union, it has weaker powers than the Council in some sensitive areas, and does not have legislative initiative . It does, however, have powers over the Commission which the Council does not. It has been said that its democratic nature and growing powers have made it one of the most powerful legislatures in the world. [14] [15] [16] The Parliament's  President  (its speaker) is  Martin Schulz  ( S&D / PES ), who was elected from the Parliament's members in 2012.

The European Council is the group of heads of state or government of the EU member states. It meets four times a year to define the Union's policy agenda and give impetus to integration. The President of the European Council is the person responsible for chairing and driving forward the work of the institution, which has been described as the highest political body of the European Union.[:

The  European Council  is the group of  heads of state  or  government  of the EU  member states . It meets four times a year to define the Union's policy agenda and give impetus to integration. The  President of the European Council  is the person responsible for chairing and driving forward the work of the institution, which has been described as the highest political body of the  European Union . [

The Council of the European Union (informally known as the Council of Ministers or just the Council) is a body holding legislative and some limited executive powers and is thus the main decision making body of the Union. Its Presidencyrotates between the states every six months, but every three Presidencies now cooperate on a common programme. This body is separate from the European Council, which is a similar body, but is composed of national leaders.[18] The Council is composed of twenty-eight national ministers (one per state). However the Council meets in various forms depending upon the topic. For example, if agriculture is being discussed, the Council will be composed of each national minister for agriculture. They represent their governments and are accountable to their national political systems. Votes are taken either by majority or unanimity with votes allocated according to population. In these various forms they share the legislative and budgetary power of the Parliament, and also lead the Common Foreign and Security Policy :

The  Council of the European Union  (informally known as the Council of Ministers or just the Council) is a body holding legislative and some limited executive powers and is thus the main decision making body of the Union. Its  Presidency rotates between the  states  every six months, but every three Presidencies now cooperate on a common programme . This body is separate from the  European Council , which is a similar body, but is composed of national leaders. [18] The Council is composed of twenty-eight national  ministers  (one per state). However the Council meets in various forms depending upon the topic. For example, if agriculture is being discussed, the Council will be composed of each national minister for agriculture. They represent their governments and are accountable to their national political systems. Votes are taken either by majority or unanimity with votes allocated according to population. In these various forms they share the legislative and budgetary power of the Parliament, and also lead the  Common Foreign and Security Policy

The European Commission (EC) is the executive arm of the Union. It is a body composed of one appointee from each state, currently twenty-eight, but is designed to be independent of national interests. The body is responsible for drafting all law of the European Union and has a near monopoly on proposing new laws (bills).[19] It also deals with the day-to-day running of the Union and has the duty of upholding the law and treaties (in this role it is known as the "Guardian of the Treaties").[13] The Commission is led by a President who is nominated by the Council (in practice the European Council) and approved by Parliament. The remaining 27 Commissioners are nominated by member-states, in consultation with the President, and have their portfolios assigned by the President. The Council then adopts this list of nominee-Commissioners. The Council’s adoption of the Commission is not an area which requires the decision to be unanimous, their acceptance is arrived at according to the rules for qualified majority voting. The European Parliament then interviews and casts its vote upon the Commissioners. The interviews of individual nominees are conducted separately, in contrast to Parliament’s vote of approval which must be cast on the Commission as a whole without the ability to accept or reject individual Commissioners. Once approval has been obtained from the Parliament the Commissioners can take office.[20] The current President is José Manuel Barroso (EPP); his commission was elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2010. :

The  European Commission  ( EC ) is the executive arm of the Union. It is a body composed of one appointee from each state, currently twenty-eight, but is designed to be independent of national interests. The body is responsible for drafting all  law of the European Union  and has a near monopoly on  proposing new laws (bills) . [19]  It also deals with the day-to-day running of the Union and has the duty of upholding the law and  treaties  (in this role it is known as the "Guardian of the Treaties"). [13] The Commission is led by a  President  who is nominated by the Council (in practice the  European Council ) and approved by Parliament. The remaining 27 Commissioners are nominated by member-states, in consultation with the President, and have their portfolios assigned by the President. The Council then adopts this list of nominee-Commissioners. The Council’s adoption of the Commission is not an area which requires the decision to be unanimous, their acceptance is arrived at according to the rules for  qualified majority voting . The European Parliament then interviews and casts its vote upon the Commissioners. The interviews of individual nominees are conducted separately, in contrast to Parliament’s vote of approval which must be cast on the Commission as a whole without the ability to accept or reject individual Commissioners. Once approval has been obtained from the Parliament the Commissioners can take office. [20]  The current President is  José Manuel Barroso  ( EPP );  his commission  was elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2010.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is the EU's judicial branch. It is responsible for interpreting EU law and treaties. It comprises the main chamber: Court of Justice, the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal. The CJEU is located in Luxembourg. :

The Court of Justice of the European Union ( CJEU ) is the EU's judicial branch. It is responsible for interpreting EU law and treaties. It comprises the main chamber:  Court of Justice , the  General Court  and the  Civil Service Tribunal . The CJEU is located in  Luxembourg .

The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank for the eurozone (the states which have adopted the euro) and thus controls monetary policy in that area with an agenda to maintain price stability. It is at the centre of the European System of Central Banks which comprises all EU national banks. The bank is governed by a board of national bank governors and a President.[11][22] The ECB is located in Frankfurt. The current president is Mario Draghi. :

The  European Central Bank  ( ECB ) is the  central bank  for the  eurozone  (the states which have adopted the euro) and thus controls  monetary policy  in that area with an agenda to maintain  price stability . It is at the centre of the  European System of Central Banks  which comprises all EU national banks. The bank is governed by a board of national bank governors and a President. [11] [22] The ECB is located in Frankfurt. The current president is  Mario Draghi .

The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was an international organisation serving to unify European countries after the Second World War. It was formally established by the Treaty of Paris (1951), which was signed by Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The ECSC was the first international organisation to be based on the principles of supranationalism,[2] and would ultimately lead the way to the founding of the European Union. The ECSC was first proposed by French foreign minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950 as a way to prevent further war betweenFrance and Germany. He declared his aim was to "make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible"[3] which was to be achieved by regional integration, of which the ECSC was the first step. The Treaty would create a common market for coal and steel among its member states which served to neutralise competition between European nations over natural resources, particularly in the Ruhr. :

The  European Coal and Steel Community  ( ECSC ) was an  international organisation  serving to unify European countries after the  Second World War . It was formally established by the  Treaty of Paris (1951) , which was signed by  Belgium ,  France ,  West Germany ,  Italy , the  Netherlands  and  Luxembourg . The ECSC was the first international organisation to be based on the principles of  supranationalism , [2]  and would ultimately lead the way to the founding of the  European Union . The ECSC was first proposed by French foreign minister  Robert Schuman  on 9 May 1950 as a way to prevent further war between France  and  Germany . He declared his aim was to "make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible" [3]  which was to be achieved by regional integration, of which the ECSC was the first step. The Treaty would create a  common market  for coal and steel among its member states which served to neutralise competition between European nations over natural resources, particularly in the  Ruhr .

As Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Schuman was instrumental in turning French policy away from the Gaullist policy of permanent occupation or control of parts of German territory such as the Ruhr or the Saar. Despite stiff ultra-nationalist, Gaullist and communist opposition, the French Assembly voted a number of resolutions in favour of his new policy of integrating Germany into a community. The International Authority for the Ruhr changed in consequence. Schuman's guiding principles were moral, based on the equality of states (international democracy), not the power politics of domination.:

As  Prime Minister  and  Foreign Minister , Schuman was instrumental in turning French policy away from the  Gaullist  policy of permanent occupation or control of parts of German territory such as the  Ruhr  or the  Saar . Despite stiff ultra-nationalist, Gaullist and communist opposition, the  French Assembly  voted a number of resolutions in favour of his new policy of integrating Germany into a community. The  International Authority for the Ruhr  changed in consequence. Schuman's guiding principles were moral, based on the equality of states  (international democracy) , not the power politics of domination.

The Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950 (later known as Europe Day) occurred after two Cabinet meetings, when the proposal became French government policy. France was thus the first government to agree to share and grow sovereignty in a supranational Community. That decision was based on a text, written and edited by Schuman's friend and colleague, the Foreign Ministry lawyer, Paul Reuter with the assistance of Jean Monnet and Schuman's Directeur de Cabinet, Bernard Clappier. It laid out a plan for a European Community to pool the coal and steel of its members in a common market.:

The  Schuman Declaration  of 9 May 1950 (later known as  Europe Day ) occurred after two Cabinet meetings, when the proposal became French government policy. France was thus the first government to agree to share and grow sovereignty in a supranational Community. That decision was based on a text, written and edited by Schuman's friend and colleague, the  Foreign Ministry  lawyer,  Paul Reuter  with the assistance of  Jean Monnet  and Schuman's Directeur de Cabinet, Bernard Clappier . It laid out a plan for a European Community to pool the coal and steel of its members in a  common market .

Schuman proposed that "Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organisation open to the participation of the other countries of Europe." Such an act was intended to help economic growth and cement peace between France and Germany, who were historic enemies. Coal and steel were vital resources needed for a country to wage war, so pooling those resources between two such enemies was seen as more than symbolic.[2][4] Schuman saw the decision of the French government on his proposal as the first example of a democratic and supranational Community, a new development in world history.[5][6] The plan was also seen by some, like Monnet, who crossed out Reuter's mention of 'supranational' in the draft and inserted 'federation', as a first step to a "European federation":

Schuman proposed that "Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organisation open to the participation of the other countries of Europe." Such an act was intended to help economic growth and cement peace between France and Germany, who were  historic enemies . Coal and steel were vital resources needed for a country to wage war, so pooling those resources between two such enemies was seen as more than symbolic. [2] [4]  Schuman saw the decision of the French government on his proposal as the first example of a democratic and  supranational  Community, a new development in world history. [5] [6]  The plan was also seen by some, like Monnet, who crossed out Reuter's mention of ' supranational ' in the draft and inserted 'federation', as a first step to a " European federation "

The European Parliament (abbreviated as EU Parliament or the EP) is the directly elected parliamentary institution of theEuropean 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).:

The  European Parliament  (abbreviated as  EU Parliament  or the  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).

It has been directly elected every five years by universal suffrage since 1979. However, turnout at European Parliament electionshas fallen consecutively at each election since that date, and has been under 50% since 1999. Turnout in 2009 stood at 43% of all European voters, ranging from 90% in Luxembourg and Belgium (where compulsory voting is used) to 20% in Slovakia. Turnout was under 50% in 18 out of the then 27 member states.:

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 2009 stood at 43% of all European voters, ranging from 90% in  Luxembourg  and  Belgium  (where  compulsory voting  is used) to 20% in  Slovakia . Turnout was under 50% in 18 out of the then 27 member states .

The Parliament, like the other institutions, was not designed in its current form when it first met on 10 September 1952. One of the oldest common institutions, it began as the "Common Assembly" of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). It was a consultative assembly of 78 parliamentarians drawn from the national parliaments of member states (see dual mandate), having no legislative powers.[12][13] The change since its foundation was highlighted by Professor David Farrell of the University of Manchester;:

The Parliament, like the other institutions, was not designed in its current form when it first met on 10 September 1952. One of the oldest common institutions, it began as the " Common Assembly " of the  European Coal and Steel Community  (ECSC). It was a consultative assembly of 78 parliamentarians drawn from the national parliaments of member states (see  dual mandate ), having no legislative powers. [12] [13]  The change since its foundation was highlighted by Professor David Farrell of the  University of Manchester ;

In 2004, following the largest trans-national election in history, despite the European Council choosing a President from the largest political group (the EPP), the Parliament again exerted pressure on the Commission. During the Parliament's hearings of the proposedCommissioners MEPs raised doubts about some nominees with the Civil liberties committee rejecting Rocco Buttiglione from the post ofCommissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security over his views on homosexuality. That was the first time the Parliament had ever voted against an incoming Commissioner and despite Barroso's insistence upon Buttiglione the Parliament forced Buttiglione to be withdrawn. A number of other Commissioners also had to be withdrawn or reassigned before Parliament allowed the Barroso Commission to take office.[31][32] Rocco Buttiglione was the first Commission designate to be voted down by Parliament Along with the extension of the ordinary legislative procedure, the Parliament's democratic mandate has given it greater control over legislation against the other institutions. In voting on the Bolkestein directive in 2006, the Parliament voted by a large majority for over 400 amendments that changed the fundamental principle of the law. The Financial Times described it in the following terms: :

In 2004, following the largest trans-national election in history, despite the European Council choosing a President from the largest political group (the EPP), the Parliament again exerted pressure on the Commission. During the Parliament's hearings of the proposed Commissioners  MEPs raised doubts about some nominees with the  Civil liberties committee  rejecting  Rocco Buttiglione  from the post of Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security  over his views on homosexuality. That was the first time the Parliament had ever voted against an incoming Commissioner and despite Barroso's insistence upon Buttiglione the Parliament forced Buttiglione to be withdrawn. A number of other Commissioners also had to be withdrawn or reassigned before Parliament allowed the  Barroso Commission  to take office. [31] [32] Rocco Buttiglione  was the first Commission designate to be voted down by Parliament Along with the extension of the ordinary legislative procedure, the Parliament's democratic mandate has given it greater control over legislation against the other institutions. In voting on the  Bolkestein directive  in 2006, the Parliament voted by a large majority for over 400 amendments that changed the fundamental principle of the law. The  Financial Times  described it in the following terms:

The parliamentarians are known in English as Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). They are elected every five years by universal adult suffrage and sit according to political allegiance; about a third are women. Before 1979 they were appointed by their national parliaments.[17][62] Under the Lisbon Treaty, seats are allocated to each state according to population and the maximum number of members is set at 751 (however, as the President cannot vote while in the chair there will only be 750 voting members at any one time).[63] The seats are distributed according to "degressive proportionality", i.e., the larger the state, the more citizens are represented per MEP. As a result, Maltese and Luxembourgish voters have roughly 10x more influence per voter than citizens of the six large countries. As of 1 July 2014, Germany (80.9 million inhabitants) will have 96 seats (previously 99 seats), i.e. one seat for 843,000 inhabitants. Malta (0.4 million inhabitants) has 6 seats, i.e. one seat for 70,000 inhabitants. The new system implemented under the Lisbon Treaty, including revising the seating well before elections, was intended to avoid political horse trading when the allocations have to be revised to reflect demographic changes.[64] Pursuant to this apportionment, the constituencies are formed. In six EU member states (Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Poland, and the United Kingdom), the national territory is divided into a number of constituencies. In the remaining member states, the whole country forms a single constituency. All member states hold elections to the European Parliament using various forms ofproportional representation. :

The  parliamentarians  are known in English as Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). They are elected every five years by  universal adult suffrage  and sit according to political allegiance; about a third are women. Before 1979 they were appointed by their national parliaments. [17] [62] Under the Lisbon Treaty,  seats are allocated  to each state according to population and the maximum number of members is set at 751 (however, as the President cannot vote while in the chair there will only be 750 voting members at any one time). [63] The seats are distributed according to " degressive proportionality ", i.e., the larger the state, the more citizens are represented per MEP. As a result, Maltese and Luxembourgish voters have roughly 10x more influence per voter than citizens of the six large countries. As of 1 July 2014, Germany (80.9 million inhabitants) will have 96 seats (previously 99 seats), i.e. one seat for 843,000 inhabitants. Malta (0.4 million inhabitants) has 6 seats, i.e. one seat for 70,000 inhabitants. The new system implemented under the Lisbon Treaty, including revising the seating well before elections, was intended to avoid political  horse trading  when the allocations have to be revised to reflect demographic changes. [64] Pursuant to this apportionment, the  constituencies  are formed. In six EU member states (Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Poland, and the United Kingdom), the national territory is divided into a number of constituencies. In the remaining member states, the whole country forms a single constituency. All member states hold elections to the European Parliament using various forms of proportional representation .

The President, Martin Schulz MEP of the S&D, is essentially the speaker of the Parliament. He or she presides over the plenary when it is in session and the President's signature is required for all acts adopted by co-decision, including the EU budget. The President is also responsible for representing the Parliament externally, including in legal matters, and for the application of the rules of procedure. He or she is elected for two-and-a-half-year terms, meaning two elections per parliamentary term.[100][101] In most countries, the protocol of the head of state comes before all others, however in the EU the Parliament is listed as the first institution, and hence the protocol of its President comes before any other European, or national, protocol. The gifts given to numerous visiting dignitaries depend upon the President. President Josep Borrell MEP of Spain gave his counterparts a crystal cup created by an artist from Barcelona who had engraved upon it parts of the Charter of Fundamental Rights among other things.[9] A number of notable figures have been President of the Parliament and its predecessors. The first President was Paul-Henri Spaak MEP,[102] one of the founding fathers of the Union. Other founding fathers include Alcide de Gasperi MEP and Robert Schuman MEP. The two female Presidents were Simone Veil MEP in 1979 (first President of the elected Parliament) and Nicole Fontaine MEP in 1999, both Frenchwomen.[103] The previous president, Jerzy Buzek was the first East-Central European to lead an EU institution, a former Prime Minister of Poland who rose out of theSolidarity movement in Poland that helped overthrow communism in the Eastern Bloc.[104] During the election of a President, the previous President (or, if unable to, one of the previous Vice-Presidents) presides over the chamber.[105] Prior to 2009, the oldest memberfulfilled this role[106] but the rule was changed to prevent far-right French MEP Jean-Marie Le Pen taking the chair.[105] Below the President, there are 14 Vice-Presidents who chair debates when the President is not in the chamber. There are a number of other bodies and posts responsible for the running of parliament besides these speakers. The two main bodies are the Bureau, which is responsible for budgetary and administration issues, and the Conference of Presidents which is a governing body composed of the presidents of each of the parliament's political groups. Looking after the financial and administrative interests of members are six Quaestors. In August 2002, Nichole Robichaux [nee Braucksieker] became the first American citizen to intern for a member of the European Parliament—Monica Frassoni [Green Party].[107] As of 2014, the European Parliament budget was EUR 1.756 billion.[108] A 2008 report on the Parliament's finances highlighted certain overspending and miss-payments. Despite some MEPs calling for the report to be published, Parliamentary authorities had refused until an MEP broke confidentiality and leaked it. :

The President,  Martin Schulz  MEP of the S&D, is essentially the  speaker  of the Parliament. He or she presides over the plenary when it is in session and the President's signature is required for all acts adopted by co-decision, including the EU budget. The President is also responsible for representing the Parliament externally, including in legal matters, and for the application of the rules of procedure. He or she is elected for two-and-a-half-year terms, meaning two elections per parliamentary term. [100] [101] In most countries, the protocol of the  head of state  comes before all others, however in the EU the Parliament is listed as the first institution, and hence the protocol of its President comes before any other European, or national, protocol. The gifts given to numerous visiting dignitaries depend upon the President. President  Josep Borrell  MEP of Spain gave his counterparts a crystal cup created by an artist from Barcelona who had engraved upon it parts of the  Charter of Fundamental Rights  among other things. [9] A number of notable figures have been President of the Parliament and its predecessors. The first President was  Paul-Henri Spaak  MEP, [102]  one of the  founding fathers of the Union . Other founding fathers include  Alcide de Gasperi  MEP and  Robert Schuman  MEP. The two female Presidents were  Simone Veil  MEP in 1979 (first President of the elected Parliament) and  Nicole Fontaine  MEP in 1999, both Frenchwomen. [103]  The previous president,  Jerzy Buzek  was the first  East-Central European  to lead an EU institution, a former  Prime Minister of Poland  who rose out of the Solidarity  movement in Poland that helped overthrow communism in the  Eastern Bloc . [104] During the election of a President, the previous President (or, if unable to, one of the previous Vice-Presidents) presides over the chamber. [105]  Prior to 2009, the  oldest member fulfilled this role [106]  but the rule was changed to prevent far-right French MEP  Jean-Marie Le Pen  taking the chair. [105] Below the President, there are 14  Vice-Presidents  who chair debates when the President is not in the chamber. There are a number of other bodies and posts responsible for the running of parliament besides these speakers. The two main bodies are the  Bureau , which is responsible for budgetary and administration issues, and the  Conference of Presidents  which is a governing body composed of the presidents of each of the parliament's political groups. Looking after the financial and administrative interests of members are six  Quaestors . In August 2002, Nichole Robichaux [nee Braucksieker ] became the first American citizen to intern for a member of the European Parliament—Monica Frassoni [Green Party]. [107] As of 2014, the European Parliament budget was EUR 1.756 billion. [108]  A 2008 report on the Parliament's finances highlighted certain overspending and miss-payments. Despite some MEPs calling for the report to be published, Parliamentary authorities had refused until an MEP broke confidentiality and leaked it.

Committees and delegations :

Committees and delegations The Parliament has 20  Standing Committees  consisting of 28 to 86 MEPs each (reflecting the political makeup of the whole Parliament) including a Chairman, a bureau and secretariat. They meet twice a month in public to draw up, amend to adopt legislative proposals and reports to be presented to the plenary. [110]  The  rapporteurs  for a committee are supposed to present the view of the committee, although notably this has not always been the case. In the events leading to the resignation of the Santer Commission, the rapporteur went against the  Budgetary Control Committee's  narrow vote to discharge the budget, and urged the Parliament to reject it. [30] Committees can also set up sub-committees (e.g. the  Subcommittee on Human Rights ) and temporary committees to deal with a specific topic (e.g. on  extraordinary rendition ). The chairs of the Committees co-ordinate their work through the " Conference of Committee Chairmen ". [110]  When co-decision was introduced it increased the Parliaments powers in a number of areas, but most notably those covered by the  Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety . Previously this committee was considered by MEPs as a " Cinderella  committee", however as it gained a new importance, it became more professional and rigorous attracting increasing attention to its work

he nature of the committees differ from their national counterparts as, although smaller in comparison to those of the United States Congress, the European Parliament's committees are unusually large by European standards with between eight and twelve dedicated members of staff and three to four support staff. Considerable administration, archives and research resources are also at the disposal of the whole Parliament when needed.[46] Delegations of the Parliament are formed in a similar manner and are responsible for relations with Parliaments outside the EU. There are 34 delegations made up of around 15 MEPs, chairpersons of the delegations also cooperate in a conference like the committee chairs do. They include "Interparliamentary delegations" (maintain relations with Parliament outside the EU), "joint parliamentary committees" (maintaining relations with parliaments of states which are candidates or associates of the EU), the delegation to the ACP EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the delegation to the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly.[110] MEPs also participate in other international activities such as the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly, the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue and throughelection observation in third countries. :

he nature of the committees differ from their national counterparts as, although smaller in comparison to those of the  United States Congress , the European Parliament's committees are unusually large by European standards with between eight and twelve dedicated members of staff and three to four support staff. Considerable administration, archives and research resources are also at the disposal of the whole Parliament when needed. [46] Delegations of the Parliament  are formed in a similar manner and are responsible for relations with Parliaments outside the EU. There are 34 delegations made up of around 15 MEPs, chairpersons of the delegations also cooperate in a conference like the committee chairs do. They include " Interparliamentary delegations" (maintain relations with Parliament outside the EU), "joint parliamentary committees" (maintaining relations with parliaments of states which are candidates or associates of the EU), the delegation to the  ACP EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly  and the delegation to the  Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly . [110]  MEPs also participate in other international activities such as the  Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly , the  Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue  and through election observation  in third countries.

Translation and interpreting[edit] Speakers in the European Parliament are entitled to speak in any of the EU's 24 official languages, ranging from English and German to Malteseand Irish. Simultaneous interpreting is offered in all plenary sessions, and all final texts of legislation are translated. With twenty-four languages, the European Parliament is the most multilingual parliament in the world[112] and the biggest employer of interpreters in the world (employing 350 full-time and 400 free-lancers when there is higher demand).[113] Citizens may also address the Parliament in Basque, Catalan/Valencian andGalician.[114] Usually a language is translated from a foreign tongue into a translator's native tongue. Due to the large number of languages, some being minor ones, since 1995 interpreting is sometimes done the opposite way, out of an interpreter's native tongue (the "retour" system). In addition, a speech in a minor language may be interpreted through a third language for lack of interpreters ("relay" interpreting) —for example, when interpreting out of Estonian into Maltese.[113] Interpreters need to be proficient in two other Union languages besides their native language. Due to the complexity of the issues, interpretation is not word for word. Instead, interpreters have to convey the political meaning of a speech, regardless of their own views. This requires detailed understanding of the politics and terms of the Parliament, involving a great deal of preparation beforehand (e.g. reading the documents in question). Difficulty can often arise when MEPs use profanities, jokes and word play or speak too fast.[113] While some see speaking their native language as an important part of their identity, and can speak more fluently in debates, interpretation and its cost has been criticised by some. A 2006 report by Alexander Stubb MEP highlighted that by only using English, French and German costs could be reduced from €118,000 per day (for 21 languages then—Romanian, Bulgarian and Croatian having not yet been included) to €8,900 per day.[115] Many see the ideal single language as being English due to its widespread usage. Although there was a small-scale campaign to make French the single tongue for all legal texts, due to the claim that it is more clear and precise for legal purposes :

Translation and interpreting [ edit ] Speakers in the European Parliament are entitled to speak in any of the  EU's 24 official languages , ranging from English and German to  Maltese and Irish. Simultaneous interpreting is offered in all plenary sessions, and all final texts of legislation are translated. With twenty-four languages, the European Parliament is the most multilingual parliament in the world [112]  and the biggest employer of interpreters in the world (employing 350 full-time and 400 free-lancers when there is higher demand). [113]  Citizens may also address the Parliament in  Basque ,  Catalan/ Valencian   and Galician . [114] Usually a language is translated from a foreign tongue into a translator's native tongue. Due to the large number of languages, some being minor ones, since 1995 interpreting is sometimes done the opposite way, out of an interpreter's native tongue (the "retour" system). In addition, a speech in a minor language may be interpreted through a third language for lack of interpreters ("relay" interpreting) —for example, when interpreting out of  Estonian  into  Maltese . [113]  Interpreters need to be proficient in two other Union languages besides their native language. Due to the complexity of the issues, interpretation is not word for word. Instead, interpreters have to convey the political meaning of a speech, regardless of their own views. This requires detailed understanding of the politics and terms of the Parliament, involving a great deal of preparation beforehand (e.g. reading the documents in question). Difficulty can often arise when MEPs use profanities, jokes and word play or speak too fast. [113] While some see speaking their native language as an important part of their identity, and can speak more fluently in debates, interpretation and its cost has been criticised by some. A 2006 report by  Alexander Stubb  MEP highlighted that by only using English, French and German costs could be reduced from  € 118,000 per day (for 21 languages then— Romanian ,  Bulgarian  and  Croatian  having not yet been included) to €8,900 per day. [115]  Many see the ideal single language as being English due to its widespread usage. Although there was a small-scale campaign to make French the single tongue for all legal texts, due to the claim that it is more clear and precise for legal purposes

The following visionary leaders inspired the creation of the European Union we live in today. Without their energy and motivation we would not be living in the sphere of peace and stability that we take for granted. From resistance fighters to lawyers, the founding fathers were a diverse group of people who held the same ideals: a peaceful, united and prosperous Europe. Beyond the founding fathers described below, many others have worked tirelessly towards and inspired the European project. This section on the founding fathers is therefore a work in progress.:

The following visionary leaders inspired the creation of the European Union we live in today. Without their energy and motivation we would not be living in the sphere of peace and stability that we take for granted. From resistance fighters to lawyers, the founding fathers were a diverse group of people who held the same ideals: a peaceful, united and prosperous Europe. Beyond the founding fathers described below, many others have worked tirelessly towards and inspired the European project. This section on the founding fathers is therefore a work in progress.

References::

References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutions_of_the_European_Union http:// europa.eu/about-eu/eu-history/index_en.htm

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