Glance: Europe’s Key Institutions

Saturday, May 18th, 2013 | Finance News

Following the chaotic bailout of Cyprus, top European Union officials are saying it's time to rethink how the region manages its crisis — and who should be involved.

Here is a look at the key institutions involved in Europe's economic policymaking:

—EUROPEAN UNION

An economic and political partnership among 27 European countries. It has a combined population of half a billion people and an annual economic output of some 12.8 trillion euros ($16.5 trillion). The president of the European Council, the body which brings together the leaders of the 27 EU countries, is Herman Van Rumpoy.

—EUROPEAN COMMISSION

The EU's executive arm. As well as drafting and enforcing European laws, it also runs the EU's budget, manages the day-to-day business of implementing EU policies and represents the EU internationally — for example in the forthcoming trade talks with the U.S.. The current president of the Commission is Jose Manuel Barroso.

—EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

The EU's main legislative body. It has three main roles: debating and passing European laws; scrutinizing other EU institutions to make sure they are working democratically; and debating and adopting the EU's budget.

—EUROZONE

The name given to the economic group of 17 EU countries that use the single European currency, the euro. The 17 countries are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. There is no one leader of the eurozone but its economic management is run by the....

—EUROGROUP

The meeting of the 17 finance ministers of the eurozone. It is responsible for ensuring that there is financial stability and economic growth among its members. It has also become the main decision-making body for agreeing eurozone emergency bailouts and assistance. The current president of the Eurogroup is Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

—EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK

The eurozone's central bank. Its main task is to maintain price stability in the eurozone, which it does mainly by setting interest rates for the region. Its current president is Mario Draghi.

—INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND

Formed in 1944, the IMF is a global organization of 188 countries that provides loans, monitors and issues recommendations to help improve the economies of its members. It contributes money to the eurozone's bailouts and helps monitor the region's economy. Its current managing director is Christine Lagarde.

—TROIKA

Is a committee set up to manage and monitor the bailout loans for the eurozone countries and consists of the European Commission, ECB and IMF. No eurozone country gets a bailout until an inspection team from the troika makes sure the right political and economic measures are in place to ensure the loan gets paid back.

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