The European Union is a unique and constantly evolving political and economic structure which has no historical precedent.
The primary legislation of the EU are the treaties that have been signed between member states. These treaties lay down the basic policies of the EU, establish its institutional structure, legislative procedure and powers. Some examples of these treaties are: the EEC Treaty of Rome 1957, the Single European Act of 1986, the Treaty of Maastricht 1992, and the Treaty of Accession 2005.
The principle institutions of the EU are the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. These bodies are empowered by the Treaties to legislate on all matters. The secondary legislation they produce consists mainly of regulations, directives and recommendations. So, at the heart of the EU decision-making process is the relationship between the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.
The Council of the European Union is the EU’s main decision-making body. Every council meeting is attended by one minister from each EU country. The Council has legislative power which it shares with the European Parliament under what is called the ‘co-decision procedure’. The Council and the Parliament also share equal responsibility for adopting the EU budget.
The European Commission manages and runs the European Union. As the EU’s executive arm, the Commission implements the decisions taken by the Council in areas such as the common agricultural policy.
For more information: http://europa.eu/