There are 3 main institutions involved in the EU:
- The European Parliament, which represents the EU’s citizens and is directly elected by them;
- The Council of the European Union, which represents the governments of the individual member countries.
- The European Commission, which represents the interests of the Union as a whole.
This blog post will focus on the European Commission (EC) and on what role the UK holds in it.
The EC is a body which upholds the interests of the Union as a whole, opposed to each individual Member State. It:
1) Proposes new laws
2) Manages the EU budget and choses how it is spent
3) Enforces EU law (along with Court of Justice)
4) Represents the EU internationally
There are 27 Commissoners who each oversee one area. For example, UK is represented by Catherine Ashton (who looks after Foreign relations) while Finland is represented by Olli Rehn (who looks the money). The appointment of all Commissioners, including the President, is subject to the approval of the European Parliament.
The day to day affairs are dealt with by paid staff split up into Directorates-General (DGs). A full list of which can be seen here. if you are looking for influence, this is not a bad place to start.
For more information on the European Commission see http://ec.europa.eu/index_en.htm