European Parliament president – Martin Schulz
Term: August 2014 - January 2017
Elected by: Members of the European Parliament
- 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
European Council president – Herman Van Rompuy
Term: June 2012 - November 2014
Appointed by: national leaders (heads of state or government of EU countries).
- 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
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.
- 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
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.