EU institutions and bodies

We hope this section will help you to better understand the main institutions and important bodies of the European Union and how they work.

European Parliament

The European Parliament is the elected body that represents the EU's citizens and takes part in the legislative process.

Read about the election in 2009, and see the Members of the European Parliament and the candidates who signed ILGA-Europes Pledge here.

European Commission

The Commission is one of the EU's key institutions. Until 1 May 2004 it had 20 members (two each from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, one from each of the other countries), appointed for a five year period by agreement between the Member States, subject to approval by Parliament.

Fundamental Rights Agency

On the 1st March 2007, the European Monitoring center on racism and xenophia (EUMC) became the European Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA).

Council of the European Union

The Council of the European Union together with the European Parliament are the legislative institutions the EU, and the ordinary legislative procedure. It was formerly known as the 'Council of Ministers', and for short it is simply called 'the Council'.

The European Council

The European Council consists of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States, together with its President and the President of the Commission. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy also takes part.

Court of Justice of the European Union

Court of Justice of the European Union, located in Luxembourg, is made up of one judge from each EU country, assisted by eight advocates-general. They are appointed by joint agreement of the governments of the member states. Each is appointed for a term of six years, after which they may be reappointed for one or two further periods of three years.

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