Supervisory and control powers
The European Parliament represents the citizens in the European Union. It exercises wide-ranging powers in the European Union. The European Parliament is the other legislative body along with the European Council .
The European Parliament controls the activities of the other institutions. It ensures that the budget funds of the European Union are used properly.
The President of the European Parliament announces the Parliament’s position on the issues at beginning of each meeting of the European Council. The President of the European Council submits to the Parliament a report on the results of the conferences of the heads of state and government.
In the European Council, the heads of state and government make decisions on the general political objectives of the Union.
Council of the European Union
The presidency of the Council of the European Union or Council of Ministers changes every six months. The programme of the member state holding the presidency is debated in the plenary session of the Parliament. The Council consists of the ministers of the member states.
The Members of the European Parliament can ask questions and request policy initiatives from the Council of Ministers. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union – or Foreign Minister – takes part in the parliamentary sessions that discuss foreign and security policies. The EU’s Foreign Minister reports to the European Parliament twice a year on the policy of the Council for Foreign Affairs and its economic impact.
The European Commission needs to be approved by the European Parliament. It also has the authority to dismiss the Commission. The Parliament interviews the commissioner candidates put forward by the member states. The European Parliament elects the President of the Commission.
The Commission’s work is supervised by the Parliament. The Commission reports to the Parliament on its activities on a regular basis. The Parliament checks the Commission’s annual report and budget. Once a year the Commission President gives a report on the state of the Union at the plenary session of the Parliament.
The Parliament request policy initiatives from the Parliament and puts questions to the Commission. The Commission implements the decisions made by the European Parliament.
Court of Justice
If the Commission or Council violates the principles of the Union, the Parliament can bring legal action against them.
The Parliament and Council of Ministers may ask the Court of Justice of the European Union to establish other special courts. For example in 2005 a special Civil Service Tribunal was set up to settle disputes between civil servants.
European Central Bank
The European Council must consult the European Parliament before it can appoint the President of the European Central Bank(ECB). Also, the Parliament must be consulted when the Vice-President and the members of the ECB Executive Board are elected.
The President of the ECB presents the bank’s annual report to the Parliament. He or she also takes part in the discussions on monetary policy in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.
Court of Auditors
The Council of Ministers must consult the European Parliament before appointing the members of the Court of Auditors.
The Court of Auditors Tilintarkastustuomioistuin presents to the Parliament and Council the annual report and budget. The report is used by the European Parliament to assess the use of the budget funds by the Commission.
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