Importance of EU Institutions in Peace Processes
Yet the institutions of EU are playing very important role in making peace and peacekeeping. These institutions coordinate and cooperate with each other with synchronized cohesiveness. The academics and researcher of the EU are of the opinion that there are six major reasons to study the EU institutions.1
First, as Peterson and shackleton suggest that the institutions ofEU are very flexible in accepting or adopting the positive change. They are more than 50 years old but are fundamentally experimental. They have been subjected to an endless spell of enduring since the late 1980s when European integration was relaunched, with many effects that are clear in EU policy outcomes.2 But in many respects it is surprising that how little they have changed over time and thus how deeply ingrained are their institutional cultures and established norms.
second and very important argument is that these institutions are the driving force for the member governments to ensure their bargaining position among other states.3 The EU institutions exist to manage the enormous interdependence that binds together its member governments. The Union’s (EU’s) institutions can be viewed in theoretical terms as agents of their political masters. The powers that these institutions have accrued over time arise from what is known as the acquis communautaire, that is a set of rights and obligations restricted by EU treaties, and legitimacy that provides substantial autonomy to the EU institutions. This is an important reason why European states are continuously responding positively to their interdependence by close collaboration and avoiding outright conflict.4
Moreover, the third reason focuses on the EU institutions with relation to possess rational-legal authority to make rules; it is more than the international secretariats of any other international organisation. These institutions are also establishing coherent social interactivity in less formal ways. These institutions define shared European values, establishing new areas of work, creating new collective and national interests or re-designing previous ties, and spreading new economic and geo-political models across Europe.5
The EU institutions thus have the capacity to provide political direction to the Union. Of course, most of this direction comes from the governments of the member states themselves.
A renowned authority on EU, Wallace argues that most part of European policy is made by national policymakers who mostly do not spend much of their time in Brussels. This is a reason why mostly they see EU from their national framework that shows, most of times, about 80 % of their concerns are framed by domestic preoccupations and constraints. Same concerns are true for their socio-economic and political groups, who are responsible to actively participate in the development.6
The EU gives political interests another crack at influence, not least because its institutes encourage actively, or accidentally, pan-European mobilization.7
Fourth reason for studying EU institutions is to view them as belonging to its citizens. These questions of how EU citizens are committed to EU, how they do think about EU, what they respond to EU, are fundamental questions for making EU institutions more portable to the public, so that this study emphasises more on increasing knowledge about these institutions. During the difficult days of the early 1990s, the British Minister of State for European Affairs, Tristan-Jones, spoke of his desire to make British citizens feel a sense of ownership of the EU.8
That is, to consider the EU institutions as public-spirited, professional and committed to improving the quality oflife ofaverage British, and other Europeans. Above all, the EU institutions would be viewed as belonging to European citizens.9
This is also argued that two Norwegian referenda for EU membership, French and the Netherlands referenda on EU constitutions and British referendum of EU membership have been rejected by the citizens of concerned member states. It shows that maintaining cooperation and compatibility between EU institutions and EU citizens is pivotal. Yet, a low sense of ownership on the part of EU citizen clearly persists.10
But it is hard to deny that progressively lower turnout in EP elections, declining trust of the EC and rejection of the Maastricht and Nice Treaties by (respectively) Danish and Irish voters in referenda show that the EU institutions are less successful international organisation.11
Like their counterparts in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or United Nations Organisation (UNO), the EU institutions often seem to be restricted with their own international legitimacy. An important reason to study the EU institutions is an encouragement to think of how to improve them.12
Fifth reason of studying EU institutions is that these institutions do not just interact with EU member countries or citizens, but it is also likely to interact with the Europe to enhance its ground of politics towards the wider world, which is now an essential feature of the international system. The EU is a very warm actor of UNO, NATO, World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Group of Eight. The participation of the EU in world’s affairs seems to be incomplete without understanding its structural body or institutions. Its recent steps towards equipping itself with a defence capability have required extensive interactions with the NATO. The EU itself as opposed to its separate member governments is increasing the voice of Europe in international organisations ranging from the UNO to the Group of Eight and to the Korean Economics Development Organisation.13
Sixth and most important reason for studying the EU institutions is that EU politics are made by the competition among its institutions. Decision-making process is a proper subject of EU studies that manifests how harmonisation takes place in all of them. Each institution has its own identity. The EU’s decision procedures are designed to establish collective responsibilities for the policies of EU, and less importance can be agreed without the combined consent of the Commission, Parliament and Council with appeal to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The Council remains the EU’s main policymaker, but Ludlow insists that a strong, active council actually requires a strong, active commission.14
Meanwhile, the increasingly ever-present co-decision procedure makes the Parliament a political and legal co-legislator with the Council in most areas of EU competence.15
All the above reasons of studying about EU institutions provide a single point that these institutions are very active operators of EU, which made EU very successful peacemaking actor within the bloc, as well as in the world community either they play their role in economics or politics.
The EU is an amalgam of five main institutes and their subsidiary committees and other operands.
The five institutions are the European Parliament, Council, Commission, Court of Justice and Court of Auditors.
Some other parts of EU (but not the institutions of EU) are the European Central Bank, the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee.
Before further exploration of these institutions, the general harmonisation of EU needs to be defined. The EU is a “Bloc” considered as a collective world actor; it is a set of “Europeans” considered as EU citizens; and it is a set of European countries with “national interests of countries” considered as representatives of EU member governments.
The Parliament safeguards the interests of EU citizen; the Council preserves the interests of member governments; the Commission upholds the collective interest of EU and ECJ protects the laws of EU or Treaties.