Introduction
The organisational structure of the European Community was formally established by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, but the basic framework was already there in the machinery of the ECSC. Outwardly, these institutions have changed very little over fifty years of existence, despite the mutation of the Assembly into the European Parliament (EP). But behind the apparently unchanging facade, their underlying nature and functions have been subject to a fundamental process of amendment that continues still. In addition, new institutions have emerged over the last twenty years, such as the European Court of Auditors, the European Investment Bank, the European Ombudsman, the Committee of the Regions and the European Central Bank.One aim of the Maastricht Summit was supposed to be the redefinition of the institutions of the EU in the light of these organisational changes, formalising the resulting amendments by incorporation in the Treaty. However, in the event, it was not possible to complete a full review of the institutions at Maastricht and, like other aspects of the Treaty, this was one of the tasks passed to the IGC which reported at Amsterdam in 1997. And even then it was not completed. At Nice (2000), various changes were made to prepare for enlargement, although the issue of voting rights in the EU Council still remained unresolved. At the Brussels summit to discuss the draft constitution in December 2003, no agreement could be reached, for Germany and Poland were locked in deadlock. The Irish taoiseach Bertie Ahern brokered a compromise over the issue at the Brussels Summit six months later, during the talks on the proposed constitution. But of course the Constitutional Treaty never came into effect.The impact of the various treaty revisions upon the main institutions is conveniently summarised on p. 91.Two constitutional problems influence the restructuring of the EU’s institutions:
1. the so-called ‘democratic deficit’of those institutions
2. the vexed question of the rights belonging to individual member states.

Glossary

Democratic deficit A situation in which there is a deficiency in the democratic process, usually where a governing body is insufficiently accountable to an elected institution. Intergovernmental organisations have a special problem in achieving the legitimacy that direct election confers. The term is often applied to the alleged lack of democracy and accountability in the decision-making processes of the European Union and to the obscurity and inaccessibility of its difficult legal texts.

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The European Union
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Boxes vii
  • Tables viii
  • Maps ix
  • Introduction x
  • Background Information xv
  • Section One- History 1
  • Introduction 3
  • Chapter 1 - The Drive for European Unity to 1973 5
  • Chapter 2 - From Community to Union, 1973–93 30
  • Chapter 3 - Consolidating the European Union, 1993 To the Present Day 49
  • Chapter 4 - The Movement to Integration- A Theoretical Perspective 61
  • Section Two- Institutions 73
  • Introduction 75
  • Chapter 5 - Institutions of the European Union 76
  • Chapter 6 - Policy-Making and Law-Making Processes 97
  • Chapter 7 - Democracy and the European Union 115
  • Section Three- Representation 127
  • Introduction 129
  • Chapter 8 - Elections to the European Parliament 130
  • Chapter 9 - Political Parties and the European Union 152
  • Chapter 10 - Pressure Groups and the European Union 171
  • Section Four- Policies 189
  • Introduction 191
  • Chapter 11 - The Union Budget 196
  • Chapter 12 - First-Pillar Policies 204
  • Chapter 13 - Second- And Third-Pillar Policies 230
  • Section Five- Attitudes 239
  • Introduction 241
  • Chapter 14 - Member States 250
  • Chapter 15 - Britain and Europe- A Case Study 266
  • Conclusion- the State of the Union, Past and Present 277
  • References 294
  • Further Reading 303
  • Index 307
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