How does the EU work?
The European Parliament 
It is elected every five years by the people of the European Union to represent their interests. The main job of the European Parliament (EP) is to pass European laws on the basis of proposals presented by the European Commission. The EP shares this responsibility with the Council of the European Union. The Parliament and the Council also share joint authority for approving the EU’s annual budget. The main meetings of the Parliament are held in Strasbourg (France), others in Brussels (Belgium).

The European Council
It consists of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States, together with its President and the President of the Commission. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy takes part in its work. The European Council defines the general political direction and priorities of the European Union. It does not exercise legislative functions. The European Council meets twice every six months, convened by its President. When the situation so requires, the President will convene a special meeting. The Presidents term of office is two and a half years, renewable once. The European Council usually meets in Brussels.

The Council of the European Union
It is the EU’s principal decision-taking body. It shares with the European Parliament the responsibility for passing EU laws. The Council of the EU consists of ministers from the national governments of all the EU countries. Meetings are attended by whichever ministers are responsible for the items to be discussed. Every six months, a different member state assumes the so-called Presidency of the EU, meaning that it chairs these meetings and sets the overall political agenda. The rotating presidency does not apply to the Foreign Affairs Council, which is chaired by the EUs High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The European Commission
It is the EU’s executive body and represents the interests of the EU as a whole. It drafts proposals for new European laws, which it presents to the European Parliament and the Council. It puts into practice the EUs common policies and manages the EUs funds and programmes. The Commission also plays its role as "guardian of the treaties" making sure that everyone abides by the EU treaties and laws. It can act against rule-breakers, taking them to the European Court of Justice if necessary.
The Commission consists of 28 Commissioners — one from each EU country. The president of the Commission is chosen by the 28 EU governments and endorsed by the European Parliament. The other commissioners are nominated by their national governments in consultation with the incoming president, and must be approved by the European Parliament. They do not represent the governments of their home countries. Instead, each of them has responsibility for a particular EU policy area. They are all appointed for a period of five years.

European External Action Service
The EEAS is the European Unions diplomatic corps. It supports the EU foreign affairs chief (High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) in conducting the common foreign and security policy. It has Delegations around the world working on behalf of the people of Europe and representing the EU as a whole.

The EEAS is functionally autonomous from other EU bodies – but has a legal responsibility to ensure its policies are consistent with other EU policies. To help ensure this, the High Representative is also a Vice-President of the European Commission, and President of the Foreign Affairs Council. The EEAS diplomatic service also supports High Representative in these capacities.”

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