European Commission | EUNewsletter

EU institutions and bodies

While forming the European Union, its member-states partially gave away their national powers in order to establish a political community with a unified structure. There are currently seven official European institutions, which play different roles for the functioning and activities of the EU.

European Commission

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The European Commission is independent of national governments. Its job is to represent and uphold the interests of the EU as a whole. Like the Parliament and the Council of the European Union, the European Commission was set up in the 1950s under the EU’s founding treaties.It is the EU’s executive arm – in other words, it is responsible for implementing the decisions of Parliament and the Council. That means managing the day-to-day business of the European Union: implementing its policies, running its programmes and spending its funds. The European Commission has four main roles:- to propose legislation to the Parliament and the Council: these proposals must aim to defend the interests of the Union and its citizens, not those of specific countries or industries; - to manage and implement EU policies and the budget: as the European Union's executive body, the Commission is responsible for managing and implementing the EU budget. Most of the actual spending is done by national and local authorities, but the Commission is responsible for supervising it – under the watchful eye of the Court of Auditors; - to enforce European law: the Commission acts as ‘guardian of the Treaties’. This means that the Commission, together with the Court of Justice, is responsible for making sure EU law is properly applied in all the member states; - to represent the European Union on the international stage, for example by negotiating agreements between the EU and other countries. It also enables the member states to speak ‘with one voice’ in international forums. Official website: http://ec.europa.eu/index_en.htm