Appendix 1: The European Union Today

Date06 December 2018
Publication Date06 December 2018
The European Union (EU) is both a legal form in itself and an afliation of
nation states. The EU is governed by a series of Treaties which have created
its institutional framework as a supra national institution and its legal per-
sona. This EU legal persona enables the EU to sign bi-lateral treaties with
non-EU Countries and register for membership at bodies such as the WTO;
binding all EU Member States to the terms of these treaties and memberships.
The EUs operations are restricted to areas where it has Competence
under the Treaties, although there is continual nigglingat the edges by the
EU to extend its authority and by the Member States to limit its powers.
A concept of Subsidiarityhas been embedded into recent Treaties to assure
Member States of the limits to the EUs powers. This concept is discussed
separately in Appendix 2.
The role of the Member State (and intergovernmental dimension) is imple-
mented via the decision making European Council and in the Member State
origins of appointments of Commissioners in the policy setting European
Commission. The EU corporatistaspects are visible in both the EU
Commissions policy-making functions, as the sole initiator of legislation and
its monitoring role as guardian of the treaties, together with the European
Parliaments legislative functions. These are in many cases, competing institu-
tions, with the Parliament and Commission seeing themselves as guardians of
the Community Method, as opposed to the intergovernmentalmethod
favoured by the Member States.
Since the ratication of the Lisbon Treaty
(2007), the European Parliament has become increasingly assertive. For
example, although there is no Treatybasis for it, the EU Parliament has
asserted its right to nominate the candidates for the Presidency (the spitzenkan-
didaten) on the basis that the Parliament has to conrm the appointment.

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