Functions of the EU – How the European parliament, commission and council function together


Everyone knows that the European Union is a complex system: EU citizens are more likely to know how the U.S government works better than how their own one does! However, with a bit of effort and a keen eye, coming to understand the EU isn’t as daunting of a task as it might initially seem.

A recent legislation has been passed by the EU this year, making human rights due diligence mandatory. What this means is that companies now have to take action on human right risks for workers in its operations. Before this, businesses were aimed to identify and understand these risks, but were not obliged to act upon them.

Let’s see how this law might have grown from a mere proposal, all the way to an actual EU legislation:

The first stage in the law making process would be to propose the legislation. In the EU, this is done by the commission, which consists of 28 commissioners, each from one member state. Now that the proposal for human rights due diligence has been made, the council will examine and discuss the proposal. At this point, the council could either decide to send the law back for further adjustments, or they can agree with it and send the law forward to the Parliament. If it is sent forward, the law will undergo a plenary vote in Parliament, meaning politicians (who have been directly elected by their EU member states) will vote on whether or not to enact the law.

If enough votes agree to pass the legislation, then only at that point will the law have been passed, and human rights due diligence been made mandatory! 

Passing legislation, of course, isn’t the only task dealt with by the EU Parliament, council and commission, however how the three institutions act together in general is similar to that of passing legislation. The idea is that there’s always some sort of multilateralism in the EU decision making process; so that projects, plans or laws will only be passed once various, different institutions and people have had a say in them and formed their own agreement for them.

Next: Judicial institutions – Emilie GERTSEN S6ENA