There's a lot of them, so we'll deal with the European Council, the European Parliament and the Commission this time.
The European Council becomes a separate institution from the Council of the Union. It will have a President (a single person) to be appointed by qualified majority for a term of 30 months, renewable once. The President of the European Council will be a full time position and not linked to any national mandate unlike the position today where a head of a national government assumes the role.
Not much change to the Council. The current system of six-month Presidencies is largely unchanged. With the exception of the Foreign Affairs Council, which is chaired by the new High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy, the six-month Presidency of the various configurations of the Council will be held by representatives of the member States under an equal rotation system and on the basis of a common program drawn up with two other member States for a period of 18 months, known as a "team presidency".
The Commission will change a lot. Until 2014 the Commission will be composed of one Member per member State. But, from 2014, it will be composed of a number of Members corresponding to two thirds of the number of member States on the basis of a system of equal rotation allowing each Member State to have a national serving as a Member for two out of three terms of office. The number of Commission Members may be amended by a unanimous decision of the European Council.
Its right to initiate legislation will be extended (except in CFSP).
The President of the Commission will be elected by the European Parliament on the basis of a proposal from the European Council, which will take account of the result of the elections to the European Parliament. The President of the Commission will have the power to dismiss a Member of the Commission, a power he does not formally have at present.
The role and composition of the European Parliament undergoes changes. Its role and power is increased because nearly all legislation will be adopted by the co-decision procedure. It has increased powers in budgetary matters because it gets to approve the multiannual financial framework and because co-decision is used in setting all compulsory and non-compulsory expenditure. As for international agreements, the European Parliament will have to give its assent to all agreements relating to matters covered by codecision or requiring its approval, significantly increasing its role.
Its composition will be modified: The number of seats is limited to 751 (750 plus the President) from 2009. Each member State will be represented in accordance with the principle of degressive proportionality, with a minimum threshold of six members per member State and a maximum of 96. The distribution of seats will be decided unanimously by the European Council, acting on a proposal from the European Parliament and with the latter's approval. The distribution of seats agreed by the European Council is: 96 for Germany, 74 for France, 73 for the United Kingdom and Italy, and so on.
The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is given a big boost and will become a bit of a hybrid, straddling the Commission and the Council. He (or she) will be appointed by the European Council, acting by a qualified majority and with the agreement of the President of the Commission. He will be a Vice President of the Commission and be responsible within the Commission for responsibilities given to it in external relations and for coordinating other aspects of the Union's external action. The new High Representative is responsible for conducting the CFSP. He will chair the Foreign Affairs Council, submit the necessary proposals and receive executive mandates from the Council. He will be assisted by an External Action Service comprising officials from the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council as well as the diplomatic services of the member States. He will represent the Union for matters relating to the common foreign and security policy together with the President of the European Council. On the other hand, the external representation of the Union on issues other than CFSP and on monetary matters will be ensured by the Commission and thus by the competent Members of the Commission (wexternal action).
That will do for now.
Next time, we'll look at the new big entrant, the national Parliaments, as well as some other institutional changes