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Council of the European Union: Facts and Figures

19-12-2019

This Council of the European Union: Facts and Figures briefing provides an overview of the role and powers of the Council as one part of the European Union's legislature (and its budgetary authority), in adopting (jointly with the European Parliament) much of the EU's legislation and the EU annual budget. It describes the current arrangements and the history of the Council's rotating presidency and 'trios', as well as the ten thematic configurations in which Member State government ministers decide ...

This Council of the European Union: Facts and Figures briefing provides an overview of the role and powers of the Council as one part of the European Union's legislature (and its budgetary authority), in adopting (jointly with the European Parliament) much of the EU's legislation and the EU annual budget. It describes the current arrangements and the history of the Council's rotating presidency and 'trios', as well as the ten thematic configurations in which Member State government ministers decide on the Council's policy positions. The publication provides statistics on the number of Council meetings and on attendance at those meetings (including the gender balance and seniority of those present), on the legislative and non-legislative acts adopted by the Council and on the voting weights used when taking such decisions. Finally, it provides information on the Council's budget and its secretariat.

Differentiated integration in the European Union

18-02-2016

As the number of European Union Member States has increased and the competences of the Union have widened, some Member States have on occasion been exempted from joining their partners in new fields of integration. Whilst the single market and its ‘four freedoms’ remain at the heart of the Union, it has found ways to allow the majority to move forward, notably in the fields of Economic and Monetary Union and Justice and Home Affairs, without all Member States taking part. The graphics below illustrate ...

As the number of European Union Member States has increased and the competences of the Union have widened, some Member States have on occasion been exempted from joining their partners in new fields of integration. Whilst the single market and its ‘four freedoms’ remain at the heart of the Union, it has found ways to allow the majority to move forward, notably in the fields of Economic and Monetary Union and Justice and Home Affairs, without all Member States taking part. The graphics below illustrate the differing arrangements for Member States’ participation in EMU and JHA. This is variously known as differentiated integration, variable geometry, multi-speed or à la carte Europe. Even if some see the current situation of the United Kingdom as further entrenching the practice, the Union has always maintained the possibility for non-participating Member States to re-join their partners. Furthermore, new Member States do not immediately participate fully in certain policy areas, such as the euro area.

Changes to the ECB's voting rules

21-01-2015

With Lithuania joining the euro area on 1 January 2015, the total number of states using the single currency reaches 19, consequently bringing about significant changes in the decision-making structures of the European Central Bank (ECB). In particular, there is a new rotation system for the votes of the national central bank governors sitting in the Bank's Governing Council. The introduction of the new system comes at a time when financial markets are widely expecting the Governing Council meeting ...

With Lithuania joining the euro area on 1 January 2015, the total number of states using the single currency reaches 19, consequently bringing about significant changes in the decision-making structures of the European Central Bank (ECB). In particular, there is a new rotation system for the votes of the national central bank governors sitting in the Bank's Governing Council. The introduction of the new system comes at a time when financial markets are widely expecting the Governing Council meeting due to take place on 22 January – the first meeting concerning monetary policy decisions under the new rules – to make significant decisions with a view to further stimulus for economic growth.

The European Union and Northern Ireland

07-11-2014

The European Union has played a key role in assisting Northern Ireland's recovery from decades of conflict and division. The political support of the Commission, and the channelling of EU funds to Northern Ireland, has helped pave the way for several key projects aimed at improving cross-community cooperation and economic development. The Commission and Parliament continue to engage actively with the main political players in Northern Ireland in order to ensure that the peace process remains on track ...

The European Union has played a key role in assisting Northern Ireland's recovery from decades of conflict and division. The political support of the Commission, and the channelling of EU funds to Northern Ireland, has helped pave the way for several key projects aimed at improving cross-community cooperation and economic development. The Commission and Parliament continue to engage actively with the main political players in Northern Ireland in order to ensure that the peace process remains on track.

Turnout in European elections

07-03-2014

The turnout at European Parliament elections is often the subject of debate. Whilst turnout has declined in successive European elections since the first in 1979 to the most recent in 2004, the charts in this briefing put that into the context of the parallel declines in turnout in national parliamentary elections in EU Member States and in the United States. It also looks in more detail at the differences in turnout between EU Member States.

The turnout at European Parliament elections is often the subject of debate. Whilst turnout has declined in successive European elections since the first in 1979 to the most recent in 2004, the charts in this briefing put that into the context of the parallel declines in turnout in national parliamentary elections in EU Member States and in the United States. It also looks in more detail at the differences in turnout between EU Member States.

Transnational inheritance

02-03-2010

The EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights includes the right to ""own, use, dispose of and bequeath property"". However, problems arise when an individual has links to more than one Member State. It can be difficult even to establish which national laws on succession apply to their estate. That matters greatly, since national laws, based on traditions dating back centuries, vary enormously. National laws may, therefore, produce very different effects in the same succession case. As international efforts ...

The EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights includes the right to ""own, use, dispose of and bequeath property"". However, problems arise when an individual has links to more than one Member State. It can be difficult even to establish which national laws on succession apply to their estate. That matters greatly, since national laws, based on traditions dating back centuries, vary enormously. National laws may, therefore, produce very different effects in the same succession case. As international efforts have not succeeded in easing such problems, the Commission has adopted a proposal for a Regulation. It would ensure a uniform approach in the EU to establishing which national succession laws apply, and which courts have jurisdiction. Moreover, it would make it simpler for heirs and beneficiaries to take possession of their property outside their own country of residence. However, given the sensitivity of these issues, many Member States are seeking changes to the proposal to reduce conflicts with their own national systems.

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