7 Creating an EU polity
In Section 3 development from the EEC to the EU was noted. It was a slow process. Each new Treaty saw new competences added and increased rights of individuals. The challenge has been how to guarantee these rights. Doing this was left to the CJEU. Its judgments have consistently held that the Treaties have established a new legal order with its own institutions and enforcement mechanisms in which the ‘member states have limited their sovereign rights in ever wider fields and the subjects of which comprise not only the member states but also their nationals’: Opinion of the Court of 14 December 1991  ECR 6102. The CJEU’s teleological, or purposive, interpretation of the Treaties has been an essential element in creating a constitutional legal base.
With respect to competences and institutional powers, this approach by the CJEU ensures that competences the EU acts upon have a proper legal base and that treaty rights take precedence over conflicting domestic laws. The supremacy of EU law over domestic law is touched on in Section 10.
Though the EU does not have a government (in the Westminster sense), it possesses clear governance structures and legislative procedures. These are based on institutional interaction in the use of clearly defined powers. The CJEU has regularly acted as a brake on the extension of those powers and as an arbiter of the relationship between EU institutions and between the institutions and member states.
In order to grasp the court’s jurisprudence that follows, you will need some appreciation of EU governance structures.
How the EU works
Watch the following three videos on how the EU works and how key post-holders perceive those areas of governance.
Transcript: How does the EU work?
Transcript: The EU institutions explained by their presidents
EUROPEAN COUNCIL AND COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
THE EU INSTITUTIONS EXPLAINED BY THEIR PRESIDENTS
EUROPEAN COUNCIL GIVES THE POLITICAL DIRECTION
EUROPEAN COMMISSION MAKES PROPOSALS AND OVERSEES IMPLEMENTATION
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS ADOPT NEW LAWS ON BEHALF OF NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS NEW LAWS ON BEHALF OF THE CITIZENS
7 POLITICAL GROUPS
300 NATIONAL PARTIES
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AS PRESIDENT?
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT YOUR INSTITUTION?
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR EUROPE?