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EU Presidents – who does what?

Martin Schulz

European Parliament president – Martin Schulz

Term: August 2014 - January 2017

Elected by: Members of the European Parliament

Role:

  • Ensures parliamentary procedures are properly followed
  • Oversees Parliament's various activities and committees
  • Represents Parliament in all legal matters and in its international relations
  • Gives final assent to the EU budget

More on the President of the European Parliament's job
More on the European Parliament

Herman Van Rompuy

European Council president – Herman Van Rompuy

Term: June 2012 - November 2014

Appointed by: national leaders (heads of state or government of EU countries).

Role:

  • Leads the European Council's work in setting the EU's general political direction and priorities – in cooperation with the Commission
  • Promotes cohesion and consensus within the European Council
  • Represents the EU externally on foreign and security issues

More on the President of the European Council's job
More on the European Council

José Manuel Barroso

European Commission president – José Manuel Barroso

Term: January 2010 - December 2014

Appointed by: national leaders (heads of state or government of EU countries), with the approval of the European Parliament.

Role:

  • Gives political guidance to the Commission
  • Calls and chairs meetings of the college of the Commissioners
  • Leads the Commission's work in implementing EU policies
  • Takes part in G8 meetings
  • Contributes to major debates both in the European Parliament and between EU governments in the Council of the European Union

More on the Commission President's job
More on the European Commission
More on how Commissioners are appointed

Presidency of the Council of the EU

The Council of the EU - where national ministers discuss EU legislation - doesn't have a permanent, single-person president. Its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months. For example, representatives from the presidency country chair its meetings.

More about the Council of the EU

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