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Euro Challenge 2017-2018

This guide focuses on resources for participants in the Euro Challenge!

European Union Structure, part 1

The European Union is experiencing structural changes due to the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon.  Prior to the Treaty, the EU adhered to a 3 pillar structure outlined by the Treaty of Maastricht.  The European Community, first of the three pillars, was the most influencial with the Common Foreign and Security Policy pillar and the Justice and Home Affairs pillar acting on a more intergovernmental level.  The Treaty of Lisbon focuses on centralizing the power and structure of the EU.  Understanding the structure of the EU can enhance your research.  As with all government documents research, recognizing the organizations within a governmental body will allow you to identify the key producers of primary source publications and other resources.  Listed below are the 7 official institutions of the EU as outlined by the Treaty of the European Union.  Keep in mind that there are many other bodies within the EU that may be more aligned with your reasearch interests.

The European Parliament is one of the main legislative bodies in the EU.  The Parliament is comprised of directly-elected representatives, responsible for debating and passing laws as well as the EU's budget in conjunction with the Council. The Parliament also works to ensure the balance of power between the other EU bodies.  Research interests in European law and diplomacy as well as institutional administration may benefit from a search for documents produced by the European Parliament as well as research topics focused on policy.

The European Parliament  critiques the workings of the Commission, providing a balance to its power to propose legislature.

Below are current documents produced by the European Parliament.  Click on a title to be connected to the FIU catalog!

The European Council provides a platform for EU leaders to discuss the political priorities of the EU.  The European Council has no legislative power in contrast to the Council of the EU, which is a legislative body.  The European Council influences the general political agenda of the EU by bringing together various heads of state to discuss and vote on agenda items.  Diplomacy, international relations and international politics are major points of concern for the Council.

The Council of the EU is different from the Council of Europe (which is not an EU body at all) and the European Council (which lacks legislative abilities).  The Council of the EU provides an area for the leaders of EU member countries to pass laws, approve the budget and formalize policy, particularly regarding budget and economics.  The Council is also integral to defense policy.  While the EU does not have its own forces, the Council provides intergovernmental communication for the purposes of responding to international crises and providing aid.

Research topics including national security, foreign diplomacy, international relations, EU financial and budgetary information as well as policy research may benefit from documents and reports produced by the Council of the EU.

European union structure, part 2

The European Commission compliments the Council of the EU by proposing laws, spending funds and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the EU.  With the Court of Justices, the European Commission also enforces laws.  The European Commission also acts as the representative of the EU in international negotiations.  The European Parliament approves the commissioners appointed to serve.

Policy and law enforcement research as well as financial research are areas of interest for the European Commission.

The Court of Justice of the European Union interprets the laws passed by the European Parliament to ensure they are applied in the same way in all EU coutries.  The Court of Justice also settles any disputes between institutional and governmental bodies and acts as an advisor to EU governments regarding the interpretation of EU law.  The Court of Justice also handles instances of EU countries failing to fulfill their responsibilities as a member of the EU.

Legal research and issues of diplomacy are main topics regarding the Court of Justice.

The European Central Bank (ECB) manages and monitors the official EU currency, the Euro, to ensure economic stability.  The ECB controls inflation rates and monetary supply among other things.  As such, it is imperative that the ECB remain independent and free from the control of any single government.  The ECB is composed of 3 bodies: the Executive Board, the Governing Council, and the General Council.  The General Council consists of representatives from all the national banks of EU member states while the Executive Board and the Governing Council consist of smaller representative groups.

EU finance as well as integration and accession are topics that may be of interest when researching the ECB.

Below are some publications from the ECB.  Click on a title to be connected to the FIU Libraries Catalog!

The Court of Auditors seeks to improve the financial management of the EU by auditing EU Finances.  The Court presents an annual report to the European Parliament and the Council.  To ensure its neutrality, it is important that the Court of Auditors remains independent of other institutions.  Should any fraud be discovered, the Court of Auditors reports to the European Anti-Fraud Office, OLAF.

The Court of Auditors may be of interest in areas of finance, economy, fraud and checks and balances.