EU on internet
Europa.eu is the official website of the European Union. It is a good starting point if you are looking for information and services provided by the EU. This site gives you basic information on how the EU works, the latest EU news and events and links to EU information on the website of EU institutions and agencies.
The aim of the Fact Sheets is to provide an overview of European integration and of the European Parliament’s contribution to that process. They are intended to provide non‑specialists with a straightforward and concise overview of the European Union’s institutions and policies, and of the role that Parliament plays in their development. This online version is reviewed and updated – as soon as the European Parliament adopts any important positions or policies – at regular intervals throughout the year.
The “Summaries of EU legislation” website presents the main aspects of European Union (EU) legislation in a concise, easy-to-read and unbiased way. It provides approximately 3 000 summaries of European legislation, divided into 32 subject areas corresponding to the activities of the European Union.
This glossary contains 233 terms relating to European integration and the institutions and activities of the EU.
Basic information about the EU.
The European Parliament is the EU's law-making body. It is directly elected by EU voters every 5 years. The last elections were in May 2014.
The next European elections will take place between 23-26 May 2019. You can play an active role in spreading the word by registering on the website: This time I'm voting
The European Commission is the EU's politically independent executive arm. It is alone responsible for drawing up proposals for new European legislation, and it implements the decisions of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. It manages the day-to-day business of implementing EU policies and spending EU funds.
In the Council, government ministers from each EU country meet to discuss, amend and adopt laws, and coordinate policies. The ministers have the authority to commit their governments to the actions agreed on in the meetings.
Together with the European Parliament, the Council is the main decision-making body of the EU.
Not to be confused with:
- European Council – another EU institution, where EU leaders meet around four times a year to discuss the EU’s political priorities. The European Council is the EU institution that defines the general political direction of the European Union. It consists of the heads of state or government of the member states, together with its President and the President of the Commission.
General information about the European Council
- Council of Europe – not an EU body at all.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) interprets EU law to make sure it is applied in the same way in all EU countries, and settles legal disputes between national governments and EU institutions.
It can also, in certain circumstances, be used by individuals, companies or organisations to take action against an EU institution, if they feel it has somehow infringed their rights.
As the EU's independent external auditor, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) looks after the interests of EU taxpayers. It does not have legal powers, but works to improve the European Commission's management of the EU budget and reports on EU finances.