Alentejo European offices maintain a constant dialog with European Institutions. Its mission is to coordinate efforts, promote synergies while representing Alentejo Region through dialogue with the European Institutions and other regional counterparts. Following this direction, the Alentejo EU office acts as a liaison office, having established bilateral and multilateral relationships with European institutions, other European Regional representations, associations, and networks.
How does the EU work?
The European Union is the economic and political union of 27 European Countries. Born in 1958 as a purely economic union, over time it has become an organization active in many different sectors, including climate, environment, health, external relations and security, justice and immigration. The EU remains committed to making its institutions more transparent and democratic.
The main institutions are:
Interest of: Citizens
Terms of office: Five years
What does it do? Has three main kays:
1. Passing European laws — jointly with the Council in many policy areas. The fact that the EP is directly elected by the citizens helps guarantee the democratic legitimacy of European law.
2. Parliament exercises democratic supervision over the other EU institutions, and in particular the Commission. It has the power to approve or reject the nomination of commissioners, and it has the right to censure the Commission as a whole.
3. The power of the purse. Parliament shares with the Council authority over the EU budget and can therefore influence EU spending. At the end of the procedure, it adopts or rejects the budget in its entirety.
Terms of office: Rotates every six months between the ministers of the states
What does it do? The Council has six key responsibilities.
1. To pass European laws — jointly with the European Parliament in many policy areas.
2. To coordinate the broad economic and social policies of the member states. 3. To conclude international agreements between the EU and other countries or international organisations.
4. To approve the EU’s budget, jointly with the European Parliament.
5. To develop the EU’s common foreign and security policy (CFSP: for further details see below), based on guidelines set by the European Council.
6. To coordinate cooperation between the national courts and police forces in criminal matters (see the ‘Freedom, security and justice’ section below).
What does it do? Has four keys:
1. to propose legislation to Parliament and the Council;
2. to manage and implement EU policies and the budget;
3. to enforce European law (jointly with the Court of Justice);
4. to represent the European Union on the international stage, for example by negotiating agreements between the EU and other countries.
What does it do? The role of the Committee of the Regions is to put forward the local and regional points of view on EU legislation. It does so by issuing opinions on Commission proposals.
The Commission and the Council must consult the Committee of the Regions on topics of direct relevance to local and regional authorities, but they can also consult the Committee whenever they wish. For its part, the Committee can adopt opinions on its own initiative and present them to the Commission, Council and Parliament.