Academic journal article Review - Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Institutions of the European Union

Academic journal article Review - Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Institutions of the European Union

Article excerpt

The European Commission is the executive branch of the European Union government. The president of the commission, who serves a two-year renewable term, is chosen by the European Council. The other 19 commissioners are appointed by their national governments for four-year renewable terms. France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom each appoint two commissioners and the remaining 11 EU countries each appoint one commissioner. Although the president of the commission has no control over the selection of commissioners, he does control the selection of the portfolios assigned to each commissioner. During their term in office, the commissioners are expected to represent the interests of the European Union, not those of their home countries.

The Council of Ministers consists of the representatives of the national governments. The composition of the Council of Ministers depends on the issue being considered. For example, issues related to the Common Agricultural Policy are addressed by the agricultural ministers of the member states, whereas finance matters are addressed by the finance ministers. Within the Council of Ministers, each country is allocated a number of votes based loosely on the size of its population. France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom have 10 votes each. Spain has eight. Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden have five votes each. …

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