Relaciones Internacionales – Comunicación Internacional

How Does the European Union Work?

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A map of EU countries with the locations of the institution headquarters


The EU’s authority has steadily expanded as its members have passed more and more decision-making power to the union. How do its institutions work?

June 27, 2019

Since the end of World War II, European countries have sought to deepen their integration in pursuit of peace and economic growth. The institutions that became the European Union have steadily expanded and strengthened their authority in recent years as member states have passed more and more decision-making power to the union. At the same time, the EU has been buffeted by crises, from the 2008 global financial crash to unprecedented migration from Africa and the Middle East to the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the bloc.

Today, the EU is a powerful player on the world stage, but the complexity of its many institutions can often confuse. Here’s a closer look at what the EU is and how it works.

What are the main institutions of the EU?

European integration began to take shape in the 1950s, but the modern union was founded in 1992 with the Maastricht Treaty. The EU was given its current structure and powers in 2007 with the Lisbon Treaty, also known as the Reform Treaty. Under these treaties, the bloc’s twenty-eight members agree to pool their sovereignty and delegate many decision-making powers to the EU.

There are seven official EU institutions, which can be roughly grouped by their executive, legislative, judicial, and financial functions.


European Union


Diplomacy and International Institutions

European Central Bank (ECB)

Congresses and Parliaments


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