About the European Union
The European Union consists of 27 states which share some powers in a bid to deliver a secure, just, prosperous and sustainable future for their 500m citizens, and stability and progress in the world.
The European Commission, consisting of former national politicians, draws up proposals for laws and helps implement and enforce them. Those laws are decided by MEPs, who are directly elected to the European parliament every five years, jointly with ministers of national governments comprising the Council. The latter also makes foreign and other policy decisions.
National MPs scrutinise or call to account the activities of their governments in the Council. The European Court of Justice rules on the interpretation and claims of breach of EU law.
To find out more read this Quick Guide to the EU from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Guide to the Treaty of Lisbon
"What has Europe ever done for us?"