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Institutional balance

The principle of institutional balance in the EU implies that each of its institutions has to act in accordance with the powers conferred on it by the Treaties, in accordance with the division of powers.

The principle derives from a 1958 judgment by the Court of Justice (the Meroni judgment) and prohibits any encroachment by one institution on the powers of another. It is the responsibility of the Court of Justice of the European Union to ensure that this principle is respected.

Put at its simplest, this refers to the relationship between the three main EU institutions: the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. The dynamics between these bodies have evolved considerably over the years with the adoption of new treaties. The competences of the European Parliament, in particular, have expanded, giving it the right of co-decision with the Council (under the ordinary legislative procedure) in the majority of EU policy areas, as well as wider budgetary powers.