Document Type


Publication Title

Columbia Journal of European Law

Publication Date



European Economic Council; EEC; European Union; EU; Lisbon Treaty; supranational government


The goal of this article is to provide an overview of the progressive augmentation of the supranational character of the governmental structure of the initial EEC, gradually evolving into the present European Union, particularly as a consequence of revisions to the constituent Treaties. Part I of this article presents the European Commission, the initial institution whose structure and operations have always been markedly supranational in character and which has always been dedicated to the promotion of supranational goals. Part II examines the Council of Ministers, the political institution that is intrinsically intergovernmental in character, but whose operational role in the adoption of legislation and policies took on significant supranational features in the late 1980s. Part Ill then describes the European Parliament, which can be properly characterized as a supranational, or indeed federal, institution after it began to be directly elected in 1979, and which strongly promotes a supranational agenda. Part IV presents the intrinsically intergovernmental nature of the European Council, and then examines the impact of the Lisbon Treaty, which marks the start of a shift to a partially supranational operational role for that highest political body.