The Separation of Powers in the European Union

By Federico Fabbrini

The article examines the separation of powers in the constitutional order of the European Union (Eu). Specifically, the article focuses on horizontal separation of powers, illustrating the different functions performed by each Community institution and studying their mutual interactions. The article uses a dual point of view. On one hand, the article briefly describes the Eu institutions, statically highlighting the functions that the Treaties attribute to the various constitutional bodies of the Eu: the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the European Court of Justice and the European Central Bank. On the other hand, the article analytically reconstructs the powers of the Eu, dynamically highlighting the functioning trends in the legislative, executive and judicial powers in the Eu. The article argues that the Eu has a complex system of separation of powers, with a bicameral legislature, a dual executive and a composite judiciary. At the same time, the article highlights conflicting practices in the functioning of the Eu form of government, especially the coexistence of parliamentarian and presidential pressures, and reflects on the prospects for reforming the Eu’s constitutional architecture in the context of the debate on the future of Europe.