An official EU website
English (en)
European Union
Institutions and bodies
Page Contents
EU institutions and bodies in brief
A unique institutional set-up
Setting the agenda
Other EU institutions and bodies
EU institutions and bodies in brief
A unique institutional set-up
In the EU's unique institutional set-up:
Setting the agenda
The European Council sets the EU's overall political direction – but has no powers to pass laws. Led by its President - currently Charles Michel - and comprising national heads of state or government and the President of the Commission, it meets for a few days at a time at least twice every 6 months.
There are 3 main institutions involved in EU legislation:
Together, these three institutions produce through the "Ordinary Legislative Procedure" (ex "co-decision") the policies and laws that apply throughout the EU. In principle, the Commission proposes new laws, and the Parliament and Council adopt them. The Commission and the member countries then implement them, and the Commission ensures that the laws are properly applied and implemented.
Decision-making in the EU - more on EU law-making procedures
List of presidencies of the Council of the EU
Other EU institutions and bodies
Two other institutions play vital roles:
The powers and responsibilities of all of these institutions are laid down in the Treaties, which are the foundation of everything the EU does. They also lay down the rules and procedures that the EU institutions must follow. The Treaties are agreed by the presidents and/or prime ministers of all the EU countries, and ratified by their parliaments.
The EU has a number of other institutions and interinstitutional bodies that play specialised roles:
See also
EU Presidents – who does what?
Diplomatic missions accredited to the EU
Permanent Representations of the Member States to the EU
The European Union - What it is and what it does
Contact the EU
Call us 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11
Use other telephone options
Write to us via our contact form
Meet us at a local EU office
Find a social media account
Search for EU social media channels
EU institutions
European Parliament
Last published 07/01/2021
About this site
Language policy
Privacy policy
Legal notice
This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Find out more on how we use cookies.
Accept all cookies
Accept only essential cookies
Home About the EU The EU in brief European Union priorities for 2019-2024 What the EU does for its citizens EU citizenship Countries EU languages EU symbols The euro EU budget EU in figures European years History EU Presidents Institutions and bodies Agencies and other EU bodies Work for the EU EU funding EU institutions - Public contracts EU by topic Agriculture Business and industry Competition Culture Customs Development and Cooperation Education, training and youth Employment and social affairs Energy Environment Food safety Foreign and security policy Health Human rights and democracy Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection Justice and Fundamental Rights Regional policy Research and innovation Single market Taxation Trade Transport EU law How EU decisions are made EU treaties Regulations, Directives and other acts Application of EU law Find legislation Find case-law Get involved in European policy making Life and business in the EU Work and retirement Education and youth Healthcare Consumer rights Travel Living abroad Family – laws in other EU countries Driving Start-ups VAT & customs European standards Recruitment and staff welfare Import and export Finance and funding Environmental rules Public contracts in the EU – rules and guidelines Documents and publications Official documents Reports, studies and booklets Statistics and opinion polls Open data Libraries and archives Teachers Publishers and writers Language and terminology Slide presentations Contact Call us Write to us Meet us Institutions, bodies and agencies EU offices - Europe and worldwide Social networks and the EU