EU law-making

Lesson objective

Key question: How does government in the EU differ from government in the UK?

(10 minutes)

Advice to teacher. Write on whiteboard at start of lesson


Remind of how government works and laws are made in the UK

Learn how government works in the EU


Understanding of some of the ways in which UK and EU forms of government differ 


Whole class discussion

Quick reminder of how things work in the UK

First, who runs the government?

       Political parties: majority party/coalition
       Prime Minister in cabinet
       Civil Service

How do laws get made?

       Parliament: four stages in Commons, review in Lords

What do you think of it as a decision making process?

In the EU it is very different.

Main section

We will look briefly at the main institutions of the EU and investigate:
       who works in them;
       what part the institutions play in law making

Group activity: work in pairs
(15 minutes)

On whiteboard

       The Commission
       The Parliament
       Council of Ministers

       The decision making process

Allocate the three institutions to pairs. 

Be ready one or both of you in your pairs to report your findings in a few words.

Either get students to do the WebQuest if they have access to a screen. Or ask them to work from the Worksheets for each of the main institutions.

For differentiation ask the G&T group to study the decision-making process, either using the internet or the worksheet that deals with decision-making.

(15 minutes) 
Feedback from the pairs taking them in the order of topic on the whiteboard. After one pair has reported ask the others who have been working on the topic, if they have anything to add.

Ask the G&T group to report on the decision making process.

What do you think of  the decision making process?  Complicated (and we haven‘t talked about the voting system), slow? 
Individual work
(5 to 10 minutes) 

From what you have learnt about the three institutions how democratic do you think the EU is compared to the UK?
Consider how close voters are to the decision making process. And how citizens of Europe have their say in Brussels. 

Plenary feedback on individual work (three to five minutes). Choose someone who didn’t speak in the pairs exercise.

Conclusion: we have discovered the two types of government are very different.


Write down five things you have learned from this lesson about the differences between the UK and Europe in the way they are governed. When you have finished compare notes with the person next to you.

We have covered some but not all of the ground. Are there questions we might want to ask our local Member of the European Parliament?

Hand in your answers before you leave. Thank you. Watch out for news of some new law made in Westminster or Brussels. You will know the background.


The European Commission
The European Parliament
The Council of Ministers
EU law-making process

EU law-making
Programme of Study

Electoral System and Political Parties


Lesson plan KS5 - EU law-making