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Democrat September-October 2013 (Number 137)

Brief notes on diagrams on
- How the EU Operates -

Links to two diagrams indicate how the EU operates from two quite different aspects.

Who elects or appoints whom?
Who has powers, who decides and how?

The first diagram 1 portrays the official version which gives the impression that the EU is democratic with the electorate at the base influencing all the EU institutions in the top portion of diagram. A factor put forward by those who support and encourage the EU puts the European Parliament at the centre of things. Much will be made of this once again during the run up to the European Parliament poll next May.

The second diagram 2 shows who really has the powers in the EU, who takes decisions and how they take them.

The Commission is the executive and legislature of the EU. The Commission is unelected and unaccountable, votes in secret and by simple majority. By any standard this is an affront to democracy.

The Council of Ministers, including the 'EU summits', takes decisions in secret by a complicated qualified majority voting (QMV) system. The Commission proposes policies and directives. Coreper, a permanent committee of civil servants or ambassadors, discusses and either comes to an agreement, which the Council rubber stamps, or does not agree and passes these items to the Council for further discussion. If the Council cannot agree upon an item it is then passed to the summit meeting where 'horsetrading' takes place.

Since the Lisbon Treaty the EU functions as a superstate in place of an intergovernmental arrangement. Now the Council of Ministers is responsible to and running the EU rather than being responsible to their own national parliaments.

The European Court of Justice ensures that EU policies and legislation is carried out and put in force by national governments.

The European Parliament cannot: legislate except in a minor way; raise taxes; or raise an army.

The European Economic and Social Committee (ESC) in which trade unions and employers sit has an advisory role only. The ESC is used as a conduit to pass down EU policies to national TUCs and trade unions.

A body not shown on these diagrams because it is unofficial, is the powerful European Round Table of Industrialists. This 'lobby' consists of the largest transnational corporations and they have had a big say in drafting treaties and policies. Further diagrams will be published in the Democrat indicating where trade unions and the ERT fit into the overall picture.

The eurozone

Links for two further diagrams indicate how the eurozone operates and how the money is garnered.

Who controls the eurozone?
Eurozone money circuit?

The first diagram 3 shows the recently formed European Stability Mechanism Institute and is the overall controlling body in the eurozone. This is more appropriately known as the 'Permanent Austerity Treaty'.

The European Central Bank (ECB) decides the level of interest and exchange rates within the eurozone.

The second diagram 4 clearly indicates that the 'troika' of the IMF, Commission and ECB decides the austerity policies of eurozone members in debt and how much bail-out loans and interest on these should be.

A study of the second diagram traces out the money circuit where loans are made, money is taken from those who work through taxation, sale of national assets for privatisation and austerity policies. The trick is repeated in another circuit using a further bail-out loan reaping more money which again goes back to the banks. Most of the money loaned as bail-outs do not go to the governments but straight to the banks.

These diagrams are a simplified portrayal of the state of affairs in the EU and eurozone. They are for use in meetings, schools and further discussion. These diagrams are available in printed form from CAEF by request.

Further diagrams are planned to indicate the role of transational.

Further information on the EU's institutions by clicking links in the menu on the left of each page on the website.