Institute of Intergovernmental Relations


Multilevel Governance Bodies

European Union institutions

Committee of the Regions

  • The Committee of the Regions (CoR) is the political assembly that provides the regional and local levels with a voice in EU policy development and EU legislation. The Treaties oblige the Commission, Parliament and Council to consult the Committee of the Regions whenever new proposals are made in areas that affect the regional or local level. The CoR has 344 members from the 27 EU countries, and its work is organized in 6 different commissions. They examine proposals, debate and discuss in order to write official opinions on key issues.

Council of the European Union

  • The Council is the EU institution where the Member States' government representatives sit, i.e. the ministers of each Member State with responsibility for a given area. The composition and frequency of Council meetings vary depending on the issues dealt with.

Court of Justice of the European Union

  • The purpose of the Court of Justice of the European Union is to ensure that the law is observed in the interpretation and application of the Treaties. It constitutes the judicial authority of the European Union and, in cooperation with the courts and tribunals of the Member States, it ensures the uniform application and interpretation of European Union law.

European Central Bank

  • The ECB is the central bank for Europe's single currency, the euro. The ECB’s main task is to maintain the euro's purchasing power and thus price stability in the euro area. The euro area comprises the 17 European Union countries that have introduced the euro since 1999.

European Commission

  • The Commission's purpose is to represent the common European interest to all the EU countries. To allow it to play its role as 'guardian of the treaties' and defender of the general interest, the Commission also has the right of initiative in the lawmaking process. This means that it proposes legislative acts for the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers to adopt. The Commission is also responsible for putting the EU's common policies (like the common agricultural policy and the growth and jobs strategy) into practice and manage the EU's budget and programs.

European Court of Auditors

  • The Court of Auditors carries out audits, through which it assesses the collection and spending of EU funds. It examines whether financial operations have been properly recorded and disclosed, legally and regularly executed and managed so as to ensure economy, efficiency and effectiveness. The Court promotes accountability and transparency by assisting the European Parliament and Council in overseeing the implementation of the EU budget, particularly during the discharge procedure, and brings added value to EU financial management through its reports and opinions, playing a proactive role within the construction of the Union and helping to bring it closer to European citizens.

European Economic and Social Committee

  • The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is a consultative body of the European Union that gives representatives of Europe's socio-occupational interest groups, and others, a formal platform to express their points of views on EU issues. Its opinions are forwarded to the larger institutions - the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament. It thus has a key role to play in the Union's decision-making process.

European Investment Bank

  • The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union's financing institution. Its shareholders are the 27 Member States of the Union, which have jointly subscribed its capital. The EIB's Board of Governors is composed of the Finance Ministers of these States. The EIB's role is to provide long-term finance in support of investment projects.

European Investment Fund

  • The European Investment Fund is EIB Group's specialist provider of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) risk finance across Europe. It is owned by the European Investment Bank (EIB), with which it forms the EIB Group, the European Commission and a wide range of public and private banks and financial institutions.

European Ombudsman

  • The European Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration in the institutions and bodies of the European Union. The Ombudsman is completely independent and impartial. The current Ombudsman is Mr P. Nikiforos Diamandouros who took office on 1 April 2003.

European Parliament

  • The European Parliament is the only directly-elected body of the European Union. Parliament plays an active role in drafting legislation which has an impact on the daily lives of its citizens: For example, on environmental protection, consumer rights, equal opportunities, transport, and the free movement of workers, capital, services and goods. Parliament also has joint power with the Council over the annual budget of the European Union.