The Elections That Will Decide Europe’s Future

Why Voters Should Take Them Seriously

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage gestures as he leaves a polling station after voting in the European elections, in Biggin Hill, United Kingdom, May 2019 Hannah McKay / REUTERS

The EU is many things, but sexy isn’t one of them. Obsessed with procedure, reports, and committees, the bloc has always been a bogeyman for governments both inside and outside it, a symbol of constitutional overreach and Kafkaesque bureaucracy meant to frustrate earnest national politicians trying to help their citizens.

There’s something to those claims. The EU’s setup is unlike that of any other government. The compromises its designers made to balance power between European capitals and Brussels have led to a mishmash of the traditional legislative and executive branches, with power divided unevenly between the European Commission (which proposes legislation), the European Parliament (which amends and approves it), and the Council of the EU (which does the same). The Council of the EU is not to be confused with the European Council, made up of all the heads of state or government of EU member countries,

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