POWERS AND FUNCTIONS

The council’s primary task is to fulfill the responsibilities of the EU legislative branch. In addition to this task, the board works together with the MPs in a bid to control the financial activities of the union. It is, however, significant to note that the board exercises greater control over the budget than the MPs when it comes to areas such as macroeconomic policies and foreign policies. Long before the European Commission took over the executive power of the EU, this responsibility fell on the board. Here are the main functions of the board as at now.

Foreign Affairs

ECFR logoThe board works in helping member states manage international situations by coming up with common positions. Say for example that the members agree that the countries should advocate for democracy in a given country, this decision will become the position by which all nations will operate as it is binding on all of them. The board also comes up with joint actions where members come together and pool their resources to deal with a given challenge such as the rise of insecurity in member nations. Another strategy used in foreign affairs is the common strategies system where members come up with a given objective where they can direct their resources for at least four years.

diagram of legislative process in euThe EU’s legislative power falls on two bodies: the MPs and the board. These institutions have had to find ways in which they can pass laws in a fair manner. There was a time where it was up to the panel to come up with a proposal which the board would then look into and decide if they would agree to it. This system did not work efficiently, and it thus became necessary that both branches of legislative power take part in decision making regarding the adoption of laws.

As such, the panel will not only present a proposal to the board but will also do so to the MPs. The recommendation will go through the first reading in MPs where members of the house can come up with some changes that they deem necessary. As from here, the board can accept the proposal which then becomes law, or it can come up with another version of the recommendation.
The second proposal will go through reading at the MPs. Here, members can agree to the changes or reject it. There are cases where the board and the MPs fail to be on the same page on a position and in such circumstances; it is up to a conciliation committee to bring both parties to an agreement. This committee comprises an equal number of representatives from both branches who can either adopt another proposal or agree to do away with the recommendation entirely.

When it comes to policy areas such as justice & home affairs, taxation and budget as well as other areas of high interest, it is up to one of the legislative branches to make a decision. The kind of procedure used in these cases depends on the institutional act in place. Take an example of regulation. This act is quite strong as it applies in entirety. There are also other systems used such as directives which act as guides in helping people accomplish stipulated objectives. There are also opinions and recommendations which are quite flexible and non-binding.

When it comes to voting, board members can do so in three ways. The first is unanimity where the topics at hand are highly sensitive. The other two are a qualified majority and a simple majority. Where there are disagreements as to the decision reached, member states can create a blocking majority by coming together as four member states or more who comprise 35% of the EU populace.

Budgetary authority

eu budgetThe board also works with the MPs in the control of the EU budget which averages one hundred and fifty-five billion. Where the two branches fail to agree on the best way forward, they solve the issue through the conciliation committee. The board also handles matters regarding economic policies of the member states.

The council works hand in hand with various panels in the accomplishment of its responsibilities, thus ensuring that there is efficiency in the union.

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