How does the European Union work?

Between the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament, who does what? The video above explains in a simple way who is behind these big names and what these institutions do. Let’s embark on a journey between Brussels and Strasbourg.

The video starts with a very short overview of the history of the European Union: ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community), EEC (European Economic Community),… After 70 years, the European Union is 27 countries, 450 million citizens, 24 languages and hundreds of deputies, commissioners, assistants, interpreters… but what exactly do they do? In a nutshell: they make laws to improve the lives of Europeans.

To do this, there are 4 institutions:

The European Council is made up of the 27 heads of state and heads of government of the EU member states. Their mission is to define the overall policy of the Union without adopting laws. Perhaps you have already heard of the “European Summits”? These are the meetings where the members of the European Council meet at least four times a year.

The Council of the European Union brings together the 27 ministers of the Member States according to specific themes (education, agriculture, etc.). They are responsible for voting the budget and laws of the Union in agreement with the European Parliament.

The European Commission has a President (elected by the Parliament) and 26 Commissioners (appointed by their governments) with different areas of competence. They act as a sort of government to the Union: they propose regulations and directives to the Parliament and to the Council of the European Union.

The European Parliament is made up of 705 MEPs who represent European citizens. You vote for them every five years. They meet in Brussels or Strasbourg and are not grouped by country but by political affinity (there are 7 groups).

To finish up nicely, the video gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the European Union: what languages are spoken there? How are cultural differences perceived?

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