STEP 4. The ‘sub-systems’ of EU political system
Now that we have clarified the nature of the EU as a supranational political system, in this step you will get to know its internal architecture through a guided tour is of its legislative, executive and representative ‘sub-systems’.
Generally, all democratic political systems have tripartite powers and corresponding sub-systems: executive, legislative and judicial. The legislative power is the power to legislate and make laws and is generally exercised by Parliaments. The executive power, instead, has two dimensions. The bureaucratic dimension, which is the power to apply the law and generally entrusted to bureaucracy, and the strategic dimension, which is the power of guidance and political direction which is held by governments. Finally, the judicial power is the power owned by the judicial branch to apply and interpret laws, as well as to resolve disputes. In all democratic systems, therefore, these three powers are exercised by different institutions. Moreover, it is also possible to identify a representative sub-system, i.e. all the actors who represent a specific interest and put forward citizens’ demands and claims.
By adopting the comparative method, let us verify whether and to what extent this distinction of powers exists in the EU and which institutions pertain to each sub-system.
If you are not familiar with the main EU institutions, watch the brief video below.
You can also enroll in the ‘European Institutions’ course.