Skip to Main Content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

European Union and European Studies: EU Institutions

This guide provides an introduction to the UIUC Library's collections and services for EU and European Studies

Primary EU Institutions

Additional Institutions

Primary decision-makers for cultural policy

Additional cultural institutions and bodies

Community agencies are distinctive from the governmental and judicial institutions. These agencies are structured to address very specific tasks in specific fields. The community agencies were appointed by acts of secondary legislation. For more on the history of the agencies, see this page on Europa, the official EU web site.

Present and Past European Union Community agencies:

  • Cedefop (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training)

  • EUROFOUND (European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions)

  • EEA (European Environment Agency)

  • ETF (European Training Foundation)

  • EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction)

  • EMEA (European Medicines Agency)

  • OHIM (Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs))

  • EU-OSHA (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work)

  • CPVO (Community Plant Variety Office)

  • CdT (Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union)

  • FRA (European Agency for Fundamental Rights, formerly the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia)

  • EAR (European Agency for Reconstruction, closed 2008)

  • EFSA (European Food Safety Authority)

  • EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency)

  • EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency)

  • ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency)

  • CFCA (Community Fisheries Control Agency)

  • ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)

  • ECHA (European Chemicals Agency)

  • EIGE (European Institute for Gender Equality)

  • ERA (European Railway Agency)

  • FRONTEX (European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders)

  • GSA (European GNSS Supervisory Authority)


European Central Bank

Under the Treaty on European Union, the European Central Bank was set up in 1998 to introduce and manage the official EU currency, the euro. As it now stands, twelve of the twenty-five member-states have adopted the euro as their official currency. The ECB is responsible for conducting foreign exchange operations and ensuring the smooth operation of payment systems. The ECB also decides on the framing and implementing the EU’s economic and monetary policy. Another vital function of the ECB is to maintain price stability in the nations using the euro, in order to preserve the euro’s purchasing power. That means strict control of inflation. Controlling the money supply involves, among other things, setting interest rates throughout the European Union countries using the euro.

European Investment Bank

About the EIB

This is the European Union’s financing institution. The main task of the European Investment Bank is to contribute toward integration, balanced development, and economic and social cohesion of the Member States.

Court of Auditors

The Court of Auditors acts as the financial watchdog for the European Community by overseeing the correct handling of expenditures and revenue.

  • The Annual Report is the most important document issued by the court of auditors.



The official law enforcement body of the EU. Its purpose is to improve the effectiveness and cooperation of the Member States’ respective policing agencies in order to combat organized crime, drug enforcement, and terrorism occuring internationally within the Union. Europol is accountable to the Council of Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs, which in turn is under the Council of the European Union.

European Ombudsman

Functions as a investigative officer concerning complaints of maladministration by the official institutions and bodies of the European Union. The Ombudsman may also take initiative and open an investigation without waiting first on a public complaint. The exceptions to the Ombudsman jurisdiction are the judicial rulings of the Courts of Justice and the General Court.

European Committee of the Regions (CoR)

Advisory body representing Europe's regional and local authorities. Composed of locally and regionally elected members from all EU countries.

European Data Protection Board (EDPB)

Ensures that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive are consistently applied in member countries as well as Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS)

Ensures that EU institutions and bodies respect privacy rights when processing people's personal data.

European External Access Service (EEAS)

Manages diplomatic relations between the EU and countries outside the bloc; conducts EU foreign and security policy.

European Ombudsman

Investigates complaints against EU institutions, bodies, offices, and agencies.


COMdocs are the working documents and communications issed by the Commission. These are seen as of considerable importance as a reflection of the Commission’s activities, views, and priorities. The numbering of the COMdocs refers to the year and the chronological order in which it was issues that year [i.e. COM (2001) 5]

Proposals for Legislation

When a proposal for legislation is approved by the Commission, it will be published as a COMdoc. Usually, these will have have two parts: the explanatory memoradum and the actual text. The explanatory memorandum give gives background information on the subject and justifies the proposed recourse. The actual text is written in legal language in the mold of a directive or regulation

Green and White Papers

Often the Commission will seek the opinion of Member States, lobbyists, civil society, etc. before making formal proposals for legislation. This is done by distributing Green and White Papers to the aforementioned groups for perusal.

White Papers: Concrete proposals for Community action in specific areas.

Green Papers: Documents for more general discussion in areas of policy orientation.

Reports on the implementation/application of policy

At times the Commission will report on the implementation or functioning of an existing European Union contrivance

Annual reports or Expert reports

COMdocs are also used for the publication of annual reports on particular aspects of EU policy or to reproduce the report of a group of experts requested by the Commission to investigate an EU aspect or concern

Green and White papers are searchable with the given links above. Most COMdocs, including Green and White Papers, can be found in the Register of the European Commission.

Explanation of Register