About the EU

The European Union is an economic and political partnership between 28 European countries which was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. Initially focusing on economic cooperation between 6 European countries, it has now evolved into a huge single internal market, and an organisation spanning policy areas from development aid to environment. The EU commits to certain core values such as human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. Promoting these, both internally and around the world, is one of the EU's main objectives. It is translated into concrete support to partner countries - the EU together with its Member States is the world's largest donor of development assistance and humanitarian aid. The shared values form the basis and potential for the cooperation with UNODC.


The following EU institutions are UNODC's main counterparts: 


The European Commission is a supranational body, meaning that it has competences to execute tasks within certain policy domains without needing the prior consent of Member States. It is mainly located in Brussels but also has part of its administration in Luxembourg. It is headed by 28 Commissioners, which are all being supported by Directorate Generals covering all issues in which the Commission has competences. The Commission is the EU's executive power, since it implements decisions taken by the Council and the Parliament, but it also has the right of initiative to launch legislative proposals. It is also a watchdog, keeping an eye on the implementation of EU law by Member States. The current President of the European Commission is Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker. UNODC's main counterparts within the Commission are the DG International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), DG Migration and Home Affairs (HOME), DG Justice and Consumers (JUST), DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR) and DG Environment (ENV).                                                                                                                                      


The European Council sets the EU's overall policy direction, but has no power to pass laws. Led by its standing president, currently Mr. Donald Tusk, and comprising national heads of state or governments, and the President of the European Commission, the European Council meets at least 4 times a year. 






The Council of the European Union, or Council of Ministers, is an intergovernmental body, comprising specialised government ministers from each EU member state, who meet to coordinate policies and adopt laws. The presidency of the Council rotates among the EU Member States every six months. A list of the rotating presidencies can be found here. The Foreign ministers, or Foreign Affairs Council has a permanent chair person, the EU's High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, currently Ms. Federica Mogherini. All other council meetings are chaired by the relevant minister of the country holding the rotating EU presidency. UNODC experts get invited to speak at the Council or one of its working groups on different topics, e.g. counter-terrorism or drug policies.




The European Parliament is the only directly elected body within the EU, consisting of 751 members. Together with the Council, the Parliament is the EU's co-legislative power. Furthermore, it also scrutinizes the Commission in its implementation duties. Outside its responsibilities, the Parliament also exerts political influence via resolutions. UNODC interacts with the Parliament by inviting Members of the European Parliament to briefings, by organising meetings with key persons to discuss issues of common interest and UNODC experts are invited to speak at committee meetings or parliamentary hearings.




The European External Action Service has been created in 2011 to support the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policies, currently Ms. Federica Mogherini. It serves as the EU's diplomatic corps and covers EU foreign policies, security policies and neighbourhood policies. The EEAS consists of EU public servants and national diplomats seconded by EU Member States. Outside of its borders, the EU is represented by EU delegations which have a similar role to that of an embassy. UNODC and the EEAS engage in regular policy exchanges on all topics of common interest.




Key EU policy documents for UNODC: