In this section
Section highlightHouses into homes This report details findings to emerge from the evaluation during the first six months of delivery (April to September 2012).
Written Statement - Update on tobacco policy »Standardised packaging of tobacco products and Sub Committees on The Smoke-free Premises etc. (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.Learn more »
National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
On Saturday 25 May, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth will be host to US radio star, Peter Greenberg.
- Industry and government plan for a healthy future for farming in Wales
- Historic garden is a breakfast TV star
- National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
In this section
- Business and economy
- Children and young people
- Culture and sport
- Education and skills
- Environment and countryside
- Equality and diversity
- Health and social care
- Housing and community
- Improving public services
In this section
Section highlightAccess to information
The Welsh Government has followed the principles of openness in government for many years. Find out how you can make a freedom of information request or see requests that have already been made.
Sky lanterns: environmental and risk assessment »To establish an evidence base to help any future policy decisions on sky lanterns and helium balloons.Learn more »
- Future management of private water supply pipes
- Amendments to the Motor Vehicle (Competitions and Trials) Regulations 1969 and the Motor Vehicles (Off Road Events) Regulations 1995
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- Consultation - Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (Wales) Regulations 2006 (Amendment) Regulations 2013
- Draft action plan for pollinators
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
23 days left
In this section
Section highlightFurther and Higher Education (Governance and Information) (Wales) Bill 2013
Removes a number of technical restrictions and controls on colleges without changing the principal powers of colleges to provide further, higher and secondary education.
Legislative programme 2012 - 2013 »
Addressing the Assembly in the Senedd today, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, detailed the eight bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the second year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightCommunity Infrastructure Levy
Local authorities can charge a Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments to support the infrastructure needed.
2nd Supplementary Budget 2012-13 »
Proposes a number of changes to the 1st Supplementary Budget for 2012-13, which was published on 26 June 2012.Learn more »
European Union Institutions
What are the institutions of the EU?
The EU’s business is facilitated through a number of key institutions: the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament. Their work is supported by the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee. There are other EU bodies but these are the main ones that concern Wales.
The Council of the European Union
The Council is made up of the governments of Member States. It meets in various formations according to subject – for example, there is an Agriculture Council, which the all the EU agriculture ministers attend; an Environment Council, attended by the Environment Ministers and so on. Welsh Assembly Ministers may, with the agreement of the lead UK Department, attend Councils covering policies where we hold devolved responsibility. When our Ministers attend Council they are formally representing the UK because only Member States may be represented at Council, not countries or regions within Member States.
No laws or rules can be passed without the agreement of the Council. Some issues can only be determined through unanimous agreement of all 27 governments but it would be impossible for the EU to function in practice if every decision had to be reached through unanimity so many decisions are taken through Qualified Majority Voting (QMV). This means Member States are awarded a number of votes according to their population size. The system is designed to ensure that there is broad consensus before policies become set.
The Council of Ministers used to be the most powerful of the EU institutions, but the Treaty of Lisbon gave more power to the European Parliament so the institutions are on a more equal footing.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly elected by voters in each Member State through elections held every 5 years. The number of MEPs per Member State is determined by its population. There are currently 736 MEPs. Wales currently has 4 MEPs drawn from 3 political parties. For information and details of the Welsh MEPs go to the Wales in Europe page.
The Parliament is increasingly powerful. A wide range of decisions are reached through "co-decision" between the Parliament and the Council. This means both institutions must agree before a policy can come into effect (although some decisions remain exclusively with the Council).
The European Commission is, in effect, the civil service of the EU. Its job is to bring forward legislative proposals for consideration and to ensure that European legislation, once passed, is complied with. It has some specific powers of its own granted to it by the Council, notably in relation to competition policy.
The work of the Commission is directed by 26 Commissioners. These are appointed by Member States for a 5-year term although their responsibilities are to the EU as whole, not to their original Member State. The Commission is led by a President, currently Jose Manuel Barroso. Each Member State appoints one Commissioner. Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Policy & Security Policy is the current UK appointment.
Committee of the Regions (CoR)
This body has 344 members drawn from local and regional authorities. Wales has two full members, one from the Assembly and one from Local Government. Each member has an alternate. A mandate lasts for 4 years. The CoR is an advisory body and it offers opinions on policies from the point of view of local and regional government. For information on the Welsh members go to the Wales in Europe page.
The Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
EESC is a non-political advisory body with 344 members made up of representatives from trade unions, business and civil society. It must be consulted on proposals from the Commission before they can go forward to the Council of Ministers. The First Minister nominates members from Wales as part of the UK delegation. For details of the current representatives from Wales see the Wales in Europe page.
The Court of Justice of the European Union
The Court of Justice (often referred to as the European Court of Justice or ECJ) is made up of 27 Judges, one appointed by each Member State. The Court was established in 1952 and is based in Luxembourg.
It is the highest court in matters of European Union law and has the task of interpreting EU Law and ensuring that it is applied equally throughout the 27 member states of the Union. It also ensures that the European institutions do not act beyond their powers under the EU treaties. It also rules on disputes between member states, institutions and individuals. ECJ judgements form part of national law.