EU: Council, Commission and Parliament
The Council is the EU's main decision-making body. It represents the member states, and its meetings are attended by one minister from each of the EU’s national governments.
The EU Transport Council meets four times per year (twice in each six-month Presidency), with an agenda of transport legislative proposals, agreements with third countries, and Conclusions on general policy directions. Legislative proposals are subject to qualified majority voting (QMV). A DfT Minister (usually the Secretary of State or Minister of State) attends and will speak on items where UK interests or concerns require it.
A DfT Minister attends Informal Meetings of EU Transport Ministers, which are organised by some Presidencies, in their own country. These are organised around discussion of issues of current interest, with no binding outcome.
The European Commission is independent of national governments. Its job is to represent and uphold the interests of the EU as a whole. It drafts proposals for new European laws, which it presents to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
It is also the EU’s executive arm – in other words, it is responsible for implementing the decisions of Parliament and the Council. That means managing the day-to-day business of the European Union: implementing its policies, running its programmes and spending its funds.
The European Parliament
The European Parliament (EP) is elected by the citizens of the European Union to represent their interests.
Elections are held every five years, and every EU citizen is entitled to vote, and to stand as a candidate, wherever they live in the EU. The present parliament has 785 members from all 27 EU countries.
EU TRAN Committee
The European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) is responsible for matters relating to the development of a common policy for rail, road, inland waterway, maritime and air transport as well as postal services and tourism. The Committee draws up, amends and adopts legislative proposals and own-initiative reports ahead of final decisions at a plenary meeting of the European Parliament. The TRAN Committee produces a newsletter, which reports on the TRAN meetings. The newsletter also reports on any recent discussions of transport and tourism issues by the EP Plenary, and lists the dates of future TRAN meetings.
For related documents, pages and internet links, see the column on the right.