Non-Political Institutions of the EU
Besides political institutions such as the European Council, the European Commission and the Parliament, non-political institutions play an important role in the EU as well. They include:
- The Court of Justice of the European Union
The Court of Justice of the European Union has the responsibility to interpret EU law and treaties as well as to make sure that the law is observed by its member states in terms of both interpretation and application of the treaties. The Court was established as early as 1952 under the name the Court of Justice of the European Coal and Steel Communities. From 1958 until 2009, it was called the Court of Justice of the European Communities. It took its current name in 2009 when the Treaty of Lisbon came into force.
The Court that encompasses the Court of Justice, the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal (all are its sub-courts) has its seat in Luxembourg. It occupies several buildings, while the main building is the Palais of the Court of Justice.
- The European Central Bank
It is the central bank for the states that have adopted the euro as their currency and oversees the monetary policy of the eurozone. The European Central Bank is above all responsible for ensuring price stability with an aim to keep inflation as low as possible and prevent deflation. But it also plays the key role in maintenance of the financial stability and monitoring the banks. The Bank was founded in 1998 with the Treaty of Amsterdam and has its seat in the Eurotower in Frankfurt, Germany. New building, however, is under construction.
- The European Court of Auditors
The European Court of Auditors is responsible for making sure that the taxpayer money is spent correctly. It doesn’t, however, have any judicial power or functions. Each year, the Court of Auditors gives an audit report to the European Council and the Parliament. On the basis of the Court’s report, the Parliament decides whether to approve the Commission’s budget plans.
The Court of Auditors was established in 1975 as an independent institution with an aim to prevent frauds. The Court consists of 27 members, one from each member state. They are appointed by the Council of the European Union for six year terms which can be renewed. The President of the Court is elected from the members every three years. The Court is headquartered in Luxembourg.