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European Institutions

INSTITUTIONS OF THE EU

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European Union (EU)

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 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.

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Council of the European Union

Also informally known as the EU Council, this is where national ministers from each EU country meet to adopt laws and coordinate policies.

Not to be confused with:
European Council - another EU institution, where EU leaders meet around 4 times a year to discuss the EU's political priorities

European Council meetings are essentially summits where EU leaders meet to decide on broad political priorities and major initiatives. Typically, there are around 4 meetings a year, chaired by a permanent president.

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European Council

European Council meetings are essentially summits where EU leaders meet to decide on broad political priorities and major initiatives. Typically, there are around 4 meetings a year, chaired by a permanent president.

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European Parliament (EP)

The European Parliament has three main roles:

- debating and passing European laws, with the Council

- scrutinising other EU institutions, particularly the Commission, to make sure they are working democratically

- debating and adopting the EU's budget, with the Council.

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European Commission (EC)

The European Commission is one of the main institutions of the European Union. It represents and upholds the interests of the EU as a whole. It drafts proposals for new European laws. It manages the day-to-day business of implementing EU policies and spending EU funds.

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European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

Representatives of Europe's employers, workers and other interest groups can express their views on EU issues through the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). It is a consultative assembly, issuing opinions to the larger institutions - in particular the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament.

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Committee of the Regions (CoR)

The Committee of the Regions is an advisory body representing local and regional authorities in the European Union.

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European Court of Justice

The Court of Justice interprets EU law to make sure it is applied in the same way in all EU countries. It also settles legal disputes between EU governments and EU institutions. Individuals, companies or organisations can also bring cases before the Court if they feel their rights have been infringed by an EU institution.

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European Court of Auditors (ECA)

The European Court of Auditors audits EU finances. Its role is to improve EU financial management and report on the use of public funds. It was set up in 1975 and is based in Luxembourg.

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FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS OF THE EU

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European Central Bank (ECB)

The European Central Bank (ECB, based in Frankfurt, Germany) manages the euro - the EU's single currency - and safeguards price stability in the EU. The ECB is also responsible for framing and implementing the EU's economic and monetary policy.

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European Investment Bank (EIB)

The European Investment Bank is owned by the 27 EU countries. It borrows money on the capital markets and lends it at a low interest rate to projects that improve infrastructure, energy supply or environmental standards both inside the EU and in neighbouring or developing countries.

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European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD

The EBRD is composed of a multinational staff and in-house Board of Directors representing shareholders (63 countries plus the European Union and European Investment Bank).

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European Banking Authority (EBA)

The EBA has officially come into being as of 1 January 2011 and has taken over all existing and ongoing tasks and responsibilities from the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS).
The EBA acts as a hub and spoke network of EU and national bodies safeguarding public values such as the stability of the financial system, the transparency of markets and financial products and the protection of depositors and investors.

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EUROPEAN ADVISORY BODIES

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European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)

ESMA is an independent EU Authority that contributes to safeguarding the stability of the European Union's financial system by ensuring the integrity, transparency, efficiency and orderly functioning of securities markets, as well as enhancing investor protection. In particular, ESMA fosters supervisory convergence both amongst securities regulators, and across financial sectors by working closely with the other European Supervisory Authorities competent in the field of banking (EBA), and insurance and occupational pensions (EIOPA).

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European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG)

EFRAG was set up in 2001 to assist the European Commission in the endorsement of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) by providing advice on the technical quality of IFRS. EFRAG is a private sector body set up by the European organisations prominent in European capital markets.