EUROPEAN UNION
Seat of government: Bruxelles / Brussel.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: Ultimate authority lies with representatives of the elected member governments, as the European Council (heads of government) and council of ministers (relevant ministers for each EU competency), while the European Parliament is directly elected within state-based constituencies, and the European Commission functions as an administration, chosen by the council but, for now, heavily influenced by the parliament.
Heads of government: Jean-Claude Juncker, EPP, president of the commission; Donald Tusk, EPP, president of the European Council.
Chief parliamentary parties: European People’s Party; Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.
Assessment: Region of mixed control, with twenty-eight members. Governed partially by its member governments and partially by a directly-elected parliament. The member states are Ireland, Britain, Portugal, Espańa, France, België, Nederland, Lëtzebuerg, Deutschland, Danmark, Sverige, Suomi, Eesti, Latvija, Lietuva, Polska, Česko, Slovensko, Magyarország, Österreich, Italia, Slovenija, Hrvatska, Malta, România, България, Ελλάδα, and Κύπρος. The rotating presidency of the council of ministers is currently held by Malta. A constitution drafted for the Union in 2004 was rejected by France and Nederland in referenda and was then renogotiated as an amending treaty. That pact, the Treaty of Lisboa, lost in the only scheduled referendum, in Ireland; after negotiating clarifications and changes, Ireland held and passed a second referendum, leading to its eventual implementation in 2009. José Durăo Barroso was chosen as commission president in 2004, and reelected in 2009; under the terms of Lisboa, Herman von Rompuy was chosen as the first permanent president of the heads of government in 2009, and reelected in 2012. In 2013, a treaty on fiscal union took effect, which is expected to lead to greater political integration among most but not all members. The European Parliament successfully pushed for more power (vis-ŕ-vis the council) in the 2014 negotiations over the new commission, by securing the selection of Jean-Claude Juncker (Spitzenkandidat of the largest parliamentary party); at the same time, Tusk was chosen to replace van Rompuy. In 2016, Britain voted by referendum to withdraw from the Union.
Updated: 2017 January 21.
 

O.T. FORD