Step 4: EU institutions and the branches of power

The political power within a political system is divided into the three so-called branches of power – the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. All these branches (at least in theory) should be able to effectively perform ‘checks and balances’ towards one another. It means that that they should be able to control themselves mutually, without any of those branches becoming too powerful. Usually the legislative branch adopts new laws, the executive branch makes sure these laws are being implemented (executed) by adopting executive acts and controlling the implementation, and the independent judiciary branch makes certain that the two former branches act within the limits of the law. Each branch deals with different tasks, which are described below, with reference to the EU.