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European Union - Research Guide: Overview

European Union

European Union Flag

Created in the aftermath of WWII as the EEC (European Economic Community), the EU is an economic and political partnership between 27 European countries that together cover much of the continent.

EU Core Values: Human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. Charter of Fundamental Rights

EU Motto: "United in diversity”

Main EU Portal: Europa

Institutions and Bodies

European Council -sets the EU's overall political direction, but has no powers to pass laws.


European Parliament -represents the EU’s citizens and is directly elected by them.
Council of the EU -represents the governments of the individual member countries.
European Commission -represents the interests of the Union as a whole.

Other Institutions and Interinstitutional Bodies:

Court of Justice -upholds the rule of European law.
Court of Auditors -checks the financing of the EU's activities. (Requires authorization to access.)
European Economic and Social Committee -represents civil society, employers and employees.
Committee of the Regions -represents regional and local authorities.
European Central Bank -finances EU investment projects and helps small businesses through the European Investment Fund.
European Investment Bank -responsible for European monetary policy.
European Ombudsman -investigates complaints about maladministration by EU institutions and bodies.
European Data Protection Supervisor - safeguards the privacy of people’s personal data.
Publications Office - publishes information about the EU.
European Personnel Selection Office -recruits staff for the EU institutions and other bodies.
European School of Administration -provides training in specific areas for members of EU staff.
Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) -supports the EU in the prevention and detection of and recovery from cyber attacks.

Agencies and Decentralized Bodies:

Decentralized Agencies List
ERATOM Agencies and Bodies
Executive Agencies
European Institute of Innovation and Technology

For additional information about the functions of the various institutions and bodies of the EU, click here.

Subject Guide

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