Finding EU information is greatly enhanced if the researcher is familiar with the institutions and agencies responsible for creating, interpreting and enforcing it. This guide attempts to delineates the major EU agencies and their responsibilities in order to assist in this process. It also provide links to other guides, EU documentation centers and archives.
Council of the European Union. The Council of the European Union is the main decision-making institution of the EU, comprised of ministers from each member state. The Council passes laws with the European Parliament, negotiates international agreements, and makes decisions on foreign and economic policy.
Council committees have specific roles in providing co-ordination and expertise in a given area. These include:
Council Register. Includes all non-sensitive documents submitted to the Council or to one of its preparatory bodies which serve as a basis for deliberations. Best overall search engine.
Council Documents. Includes meeting documents where information can be browsed by council configuration (see above) and year.
Council Agreements Database. Database of EU agreements with other countries as well as international organisations.
CASE. (Central Archives Search Engine) provides access to descriptions of the archives of the Council of the European Union. French only.
European Parliament. Parliamentary institution of the EU, directly elected by EU citizens. Together with the Council, it comprises the legislative branch of the EU. Members of the European Parliament sit in political groups irrespective of nationality.
Documents of the European Parliament are organized as for each Plenary Sitting or session for each Parliament.
Other useful search engines and finding aids include:
Archives. Archives of Parliamentary documents for previous terms.
Legislative Observatory (OEIL). Database for monitoring the EU decision-making process.
The EU Courts interpret EU law to make sure it is applied consistentaly across EU member states. They also settle legal disputes between country governments and EU institutions. Individuals and groups may files cases before the Court if they feel their rights have been infringed by an EU institution.
Curia. Serves as the general portal for the EU Court system. Includes information and case law for the following EU courts:
Court of Justice. Ensures that EU legislation is interpreted and applied consistently across EU countries. National courts refer to the Court of Justice to clarify a point concerning the interpretation of EU law.
General Court. Hears actions brought by natural or legal persons against acts of the institutions, bodies, offices or agencies of the European Union and against regulatory acts or against a failure to act on the part of those institutions, bodies, offices or agencies.
Court of Auditors. Audits organisations, bodies or companies that handle EU funds.
Civil Service Tribunal. Jurisdiction to hear disputes between the European Union and its servants
European Defence Agency (EDA). Established to improve the EU's defence capabilities especially in the field of crisis management, promote EU armaments cooperation and strengthen the EU defence industrial and technological base.
European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS). Set up in 2002 to promote a common security culture for the EU, help develop and project the CFSP, and enrich the strategic debate.
European Union Satellite Centre (EUSC). Agency dedicated to exploitation and production of information deriving from the analysis of space imagery. It aims at supporting EU’s decision-making in the field of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSFP).
EU Decentralised Agencies are bodies set up by an act of secondary legislation to accomplish technical, scientific or managerial tasks specified by EU Public Law.
European Commission. The European Commission is the EU institution that proposes legislation to Parliament and the Council, administers and implements Community policies, and enforces Community law.
Directorates General and Services. The Commission is divided into departments known as Directorates-General. Each Directorate-General is supervised by a civil servant who reports to the Commissioner. There are other services and offices in the commission that perform addiotional functions.
European Central Bank. The ECB is the central bank for Europe's single currency, the euro. The ECB is responsible for maintaining the euro's purchasing power and price stability in the euro area. See the ECB statistical publications.
European Investment Bank. The EU's financing institution. Raises funds for capital projects according with the objectives of the Union.
European Investment Fund. Venture capital and guarantees agency of the EU.
Committee of the Regions (CoR). Body of representatives of regional and local governments working to increase participation of European regions in the EU community. Six commissions support the preparation of opinions based on proposals of the European Commission. The draft version of opinions and resolutions are submitted to the Plenary for adoption.
Archive of European Integration. From the University of Pittsburgh. Extensive electronic repository and archive for documents on European integration and unification. Includes hundreds of annual reports, conference documents, journals, and EU series documents not available elsewhere.
CORDIS. Community Research and Development Information Service. Gateway for EU sponsored scientific and technical R&D:
The European University Institute. Provides advanced academic training to Ph.D students and promotes European Community research in history, law, economics, political and social science.
The Robert Schumann Centre. Center devoted to interdiscplinary research on issues related to the European integration process.
Intergovernmental Conferences (IGC). Archive of major EU treaties resulting from EU Intergovernmental Conferences.
History of European Union. History of the EU integration process.
Delegation to the European Union Commission of the USA. List of EU depositories in the US along with an excellent subject guide to EU issues.
Europe Near You. Links to European Documentation Centres - Information about the Community at universities and research institutes.
Euro Info Centres. Information and advice to assist businesses on Community issues.
European Ombudsman. Mean by which European citizens can seek redress when maladministration occurs within European Union Institutions or bodies.
European Data Protection Supervisor. Body responsible for the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data.
European Economic and Social Committee. Non-political body that gives representatives of Europe's civil society groups a platform to express opinions on EU issues.
Western European Union. Dormant European defense and security organization established by the Brussels treaty of 1948 and composed of states who are members of both NATO and the EU.