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Guides: European Union

Last Updated: Friday July 19 2002 13:55 GMT

How is it run?

The European Parliament

These are some of the main parts of the EU.

The European Council
This is where the EU's big decisions are normally made.

It's like a school council, but instead of people from each year there are people from each country.

Who turns up depends on what the council is talking about. If they are talking about farms then the 27 ministers for farming would go along, one from the government of each country.

The European Parliament
This decides whether suggestions from the European Commission should be made into new laws. It helps to decide how much money the EU should spend. It also checks that all the other parts of the EU are working fairly.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are elected every five years. Anyone over 18 from a member country may vote.

The European Commission
The European Commission does the day-to-day work of running the EU.

It does things like proposing new laws for the European Parliament to vote on, and makes sure that that the laws the European Parliament has passed are used properly.

The presidency
Every six months a different country gets the presidency of the EU. With 27 members the UK's turn only comes round every 13 and a half years.

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