EU Institutions Sample Essay Pack

  • Created by: sandra
  • Created on: 28-02-14 19:58

15 mark essays

1.    Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the ECJ /How powerful is the ECJ?

2.    How significant is the CoM? How effectively does the CoM protect the national interests of members?

3.    What is the significance of the President of the European Council and the European Council itself?

4.    What is the significance of the EU Commission and its President?

5.    In what ways has the ECB become a significant institution/How successful is the ECB?

6.    To what extent is the European Commission accountable?



45 mark essays

1.    Which institution is the most powerful? (E.g. ‘The European Commission is no longer the most significant institution in the EU.’ Discuss. Requires to compare key institutions and consider where the power lies).

2.    To what extent has the EP became a key player? (Why does the EP remain so weak? OR How significant is the EP? OR Is the EP merely a talking shop?)

3.    To what extent is there a democratic deficit/lack of accountability in the EU? What steps have been taken to remove it and with what success?


Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the ECJ/ How powerful is the ECJ?


The ECJ was set up in 1952 under the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), its job is to make sure that EU legislation is interpreted and applied in the same way in all EU countries. It also has the role of ensuring that EU member states and institutions do what the law requires and has the power to settle disputes between EU member states, EU institutions, businesses and individuals. Thus, it is clear the ECJ remains a powerful body as demonstrated from its role. However, this power may be limited due to the strength of intergovernmentalism (IG), with member states being able to opt out which undoubtedly undermines the ECJ. This can be illustrated from the recent Fiscal Compact, March 2012, in which two member states opted out and the ECJ are unable to supervise such member states.

It is clear the ECJ has notable strengths, such as it is supranational (SN) institution which is above nation state as proved in the Factortame case, 1990. This demonstrated that the UK’s Merchant Shipping Act of 1988 which prevented foreign fleets from operating in British waters conflicted with rules and could not be enforced. However, this was controversial from an IG perspective as it displayed the loss of sovereignty which the UK was experiencing. Other strengths of the ECJ are that it plays a fundamental role in protecting rights for individuals and organisations. In some of its celebrated cases the court has equalised the pension rights of men and women and granted part time workers the same protections as full timers. Additionally, the ECJ conforms to the key democratic principle that the judiciary should be independent of government; it is fully representative in that the court is composed of one judge per member state.


No comments have yet been made