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EU and ITS Institutions
The EU-Russia Cooperation Programme (formerly known as Tacis) is a tool for the practical implementation of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), signed between Russia and the EU in June 1994. Under this Programme Russia and the EU Member States share their experience in a wide range of cooperation areas of importance to both parties, including, among others, small and medium sized enterprises, finance, local self-government and nuclear safety. The Programme is currently working on over 250 projects in Russia and is the largest EU Cooperation Programme in the NIS. Equal numbers of Russian and European experts participate in the Programme. Over 1700 projects, worth approximately EUR 2.6 billion, have been successfully implemented since 1991.
The European Union is established in accordance with the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht). There are currently 25 Member States of the Union. It is based on the European Communities and the member states cooperation in the fields of Common Foreign and Security Policy and Justice and Home Affairs. The five main institutions of the European Union are the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the European Commission, the Court of Justice and the Court of Auditors. The European Union is a major player in international co-operation and development aid. It is also the world's largest humanitarian aid donor. Today, the European Community has political and financial responsibility for over 10% of the world's public aid (ODA), compared with 5% in 1985. The primary aim of the EC's own development policy, agreed in November 2000, is the eradication of poverty. To enhance its impact, the EC is targeting its assistance on six priority areas: trade and development; regional integration and co-operation; support to macroeconomic policies and equitable access to social services; transport; food security and sustainable rural development; institutional capacity building, good governance and the rule of law. In addition to these core areas, important crosscutting issues are being mainstreamed into development activities namely: human rights, gender equality, environment and conflict prevention.
The European Communities consist of the European Community (previously the European Economic Community before it was redefined by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992) and Euratom. These communities share the same institutions and management structures.
The European Parliament is the directly elected expression of political will of the European Union and the largest multinational Parliament in the world. The European Parliament upholds citizens' rights, adopts legislation and monitors the use of executive power.
COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
Usually known as the Council of Ministers, specialised government ministers meet from each Member State to take decisions and resolve national differences in the various policy areas. The European Council, made up of 25 Heads of State or government, meets at least twice a year to set objectives and fix priorities. Each Member State takes the Presidency in turn for a term of six months.
The European Commission is the European Community's executive body. Led by 30 commissioners, the European Commission initiates proposals of legislation and acts as guardian of the Treaties. The Commission is also a manager and executor of common policies and of international trade relationships. It is responsible for the management of European Union external assistance.
EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE
The European Court of Justice provides the judicial safeguard necessary to ensure that the law is observed in the interpretation and application of the Treaties and all legislation based upon them.
EUROPEAN COURT OF AUDITORS
The European Court of Auditors is responsible for checking that the European Union spends its money according to budgetary rules and regulations.
THE EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK (EIB)
The European Investment Bank is the European Union's financing institution. It provides loans for capital investment promoting the Union's balanced economic development and integration. It is the leading institution for basic infrastructure investments in South Eastern Europe.
THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE (ESC)
The European Economic and Social Committee represents the views and interests of organised civil society vis-И-vis the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament. The Committee has to be consulted on matters relating to economic and social policy; it may also issue opinions on its own initiative on other matters which it considers to be important.
COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS (COR)
The Committee of the Regions ensures that regional and local identities and prerogatives are respected. It has to be consulted on matters concerning regional policy, the environment and education. It is composed of representatives of regional and local authorities.
EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK (ECB)
The European Central Bank frames and implements European monetary policy; it conducts foreign exchange operations and ensures the smooth operation of payment systems.
- European Union