The Political Structure of the EU

(This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3 book contents.  An archived copy of this page is held at http://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/6653.htm)

The EU’s political structure is balanced to ensure that different interests are represented.  Its politicians are either directly elected by the people or are appointed by elected governments, as described in European Union: Institutions and bodies:

“In the EU’s unique institutional set-up:

  • the EU’s broad priorities are set by the European Council, which brings together national and EU-level leaders
  • directly elected MEPs [Members of the European Parliament] represent European citizens in the European Parliament
  • the interests of the EU as a whole are promoted by the European Commission, whose members are appointed by national governments
  • governments defend their own countries’ national interests in the Council of the European Union [one of the EU’s legislative institutions, as described in].”

It can be seen that all the elements of the EU are under some form of political control, but there are still widespread disagreement about whether it is democratically accountable.  As member States are firmly in charge, the present arrangements might be regarded as satisfactory – though several improvements are possible, as described below (