Wednesday, 15 July 2009

How the European Union Works

The European Council
This is a meeting of the Prime Ministers of all the EU countries. They meet regularly to approve treaties, and decide on the general direction of future policy.

President of the European Council
The President of the European Council is the Prime Minister of an EU country, and holds the post for six months.

The EU Commission
All the real power to make laws and amend leglislation lies with the EU Commission. One Commissioner is appointed from each country for a four year term. They are the only ones that can initiate legislation. The Commissoners run the EU, and can be reappointed. The law made by the EU Commissioners overrides national law.

President of the Commission
He is chosen by the European Council for a four year term. He is an influential person with the status of a Prime Minister possibly higher. He can be reappointed.

The European Parliament
The members are elected by proportional representation. They are called Members of the European Parliament (MEP). They give the EU a democratic image, but in facty their powers are very limited. They nominally scrutinise EU legislation, but this consists of voting yes or no. They are only allowed to make short speeches of 90 seconds, and there is no proper debate as would be expected in a proper parliament. They can reject legislation but not alter any of it. It is nothing more than a talking shop, with no real powers to do anything.

The Council of Ministers
The Council of Ministers approve leglislation after it has completed its journey via the Commission and the European Parliament. It finally comes to the Council of Ministers for signature. The ministers on the council would be the minister from each country, relevant the piece of legislation being passed. In practice the Council of Ministers are presented with a massive pile of leglislation with no time allocated to read or discuss it. All they do is sign to approve the legislation, and agree a pre-written press release.

The European Court of Justice
The European Court of Justice is the court that enforces EU Law. It ususally uses fines to punish noncompliance with EU Directives.

European Union Treaties
The European Union has been formed through a series of treaties. Every time each new treaty is ratified, the individual country passes further political power over to the EU. Every treaty that Britain has negotiated with the EU has contained detail that has been missed by our negotiators. Heath, Wilson, Thatcher, Major and Blair have all in turn announced negotiating victories, only for the complete opposite to be the case, once the detail was studied.
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