Drapeau européenAfter World War II, an effort is made to unite the countries of Europe. Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands became united in 1949 with the creation of the Council of Europe. Jean Monnet, a high-ranking French civil servant, and Robert Schuman, a French statesman who will become president of the European Parliament, were at the origin of the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952 to expand the cooperation between the six “founding members”, Jean Monnet is named president of this community.

During the 1950s, Europe needed to be more united than ever because of the Cold War and France wanted an economic union. That’s why, the Treaty of Rome which was signed in 1957, created the European Economic Community in order to let people and goods moving freely in Europe without taxes. Then additional countries joined the community and reduced the influence of France. The Single European Act was signed in 1987. The goal was to create a “single market”. France agreed with this act with the aim of reviving links with Germany. Europe was more unified in 1989 with the destruction of the Berlin Wall. The Treaty of Maastricht which was signed in 1992 created the European Union and was at the base of the creation of a new currency for all Europe, the Euro.

Today, treaties and laws are created by the “institutional triangle” that is composed of the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission.

The European Council is composed of the heads of governments. It is in charge of the general policy and priorities.

                         European Council – Brussels, december 2010

The European Parliament counts 754 deputies, 736 have been elected in 2009 for five years among the 27 countries of European Union. Concerning France, it is represented by 74 deputies (about 10% of seats) coming from 8 electoral districts. This Parliament sessions occure in Brussels and Strasbourg. This institution possesses the legislative power.

                                              European Parliament in Strasbourg

The European Commission is made of 28 commissioners (one for each country) including the president and the vice-president. It possesses the executive power.

EU Commission urges Malta to submit river basin plans


The EU Commission in Malta

But the EU includes other institutions like the European Union Justice Court, the European Court of Auditors… The Committee of Regions is also an important institution, it counts 344 members named for 4 years. 24 members are French (7% of members) chosen by the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary. This institution enables local and regional authorities to express their view in the European policy for regions, departments and municipalities. The European Economic and Social Committee is one of the oldest institution, it counts 344 members whose 24 are French (7% of members) who are named by the French government for 4 years. Its role is to advise the other institutions by putting forward their opinion in the economy.

In each institution, France represents the largest part of the seats with Germany, Italy and United Kingdom (except in the Parliament, it is just behind Germany). Moreover, one building of the Parliament is located in Strasbourg. It proves the key role of France in Europe thanks to his influential position. Indeed,  we can say that France runs the European Union with the countries previously quoted.