Institutions within the EU are governed through treaties that establish their power and the way they interact with sovereign national governments.
Treaties must be agreed by the government of each member country by either its national parliament or its people in a referendum. The rules must be followed once approved.
European Union was created by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992.
European Commision is the executive organ of the Community. Policies proposals are intitiated by these twenty commisioners, each allocated an area of responsibility such as agriculture or trade.
The Council of Ministers then decide whether proposals will become law. The council consists of Government minister from each of the member states and it changes depending on the topic whether it is economic, financial, ect.
European Council is a summit where the heads of State or Government meets twice a year. It defines the necessary general political guidelines for the months ahead and decides on the most important issues.
European Parliament, composed of 732 members, considers the laws proposed by the commission, monitors the actions of other EU's bodies, and sets the EU's budget. Its members (MEPs) are chosen every five years in direct elections by the people of every country in the EU.
Presidency, the chairmanship of the EU, chairs working groups and meetins of the council of ministers. The presidency rotates every six months among member states and plays a key role in setting the agenda.
European Court of Justice ensure that European law is agreed by all member states and is observed as well as applied fairly. Each member state has an appointed judge in the Court held in Luxembourg. THe ECJ rules on questions relating to Treaties and their interpretations.
European Central Bank sets interest rates for all countries now using the common currency, the Euro.
Committee of the Regions promotes integration and the rights of sub-regions within Europe.
The European Investment Bank allocates EU funds throughout member nations according to wealth and merit of various projects.
Europol is a fairly recent organization designed to improve cooperation between the law-enforcement authorities of the member states.