EU’s current and somewhat complex institutional architecture is the result of decades of evolution.
It was formally established as the European Economic Community and took on the new name of European Union on November 1, 1993 following the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty. It currently consists of 27 Member States. As a political system based on law and democratic principles, the EU is characterised by the distribution of power and governance functions among different bodies and institutions.
After the reform introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, the notion of “institution” is reserved for the following bodies: the European Parliament, the European Council (which obtains the status of institution for the first time), the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the Court of Auditors.
The decision-making process is such that none of the European institutions, except in a few very specific cases, can take decisions independently, so that there is no institution that can prevail over the others in the long run
This section traces the origins and developments of the European integration process. It also provides an analysis of the EU’s institutional framework.