You can find here the comprehensive list of the terms used in the different sections of the Wiki.


Article 7 (of the Treaty on European Union)

‘Article 7’ refers to art. 7 of the Treaty on European Union, which lays out a procedure to sanction a serious breach of the principles of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, in the Member States. Such measures can lead to the suspension of the voting rights of the said Member State in the Council.


The attachés are the civil servants within a PermRep that work directly on a specific file and take part in the preparatory meetings of that file before it is discussed within the Coreper.


In the context of civil society, the term “citizen” is often used to refer to all inhabitants, irrespective of their legal status, including those in possession of a country’s citizenship, temporary or permanent residents, as well as the undocumented population.

Civil dialogue

Civil dialogue involves the exchange of views and information between civil society (organisations) and public authorities as part of the decision-making process. It can be initiated by either party and is characterised by regular, transparent, structured, and collaborative interactions.

Civil Society Organisation (CSO)

CSOs are a type of NPO covering diverse and independent organisations, networks, associations, public benefit foundations, groups, and movements that collaborate to advance shared goals through collective efforts. 

Civic space

“Civic space is the environment that enables people and groups – or ‘civic space actors’ – to participate meaningfully in the political, economic, social and cultural life in their societies. Vibrant civic space requires an open, secure and safe environment that is free from all acts of intimidation, harassment and reprisals, whether online or offline” (UN Guidance Note on Protection and Promotion of Civic Space).



Comitology refers to a set of procedures, including meetings of representative committees, that give EU countries a say in implementing acts. Comitology committees include 1 representative from every EU country and are chaired by a Commission official.


The committees are official thematic subgroups of MEPs, composed of representatives of all the political groups and the non-attached members, preparing the policy and legislative proposals from the Commission to be discussed and voted on in the Plenary. They can also work on their own initiative resolutions or reports. The head of a committee is called ‘Committee Chair’, assisted by Vice Chairs from the other political groups.

Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper)

Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States to the European Union. It is made of the ambassadors to the EU of the Member States, and almost all the files to be approved by the Council are first discussed (and most of the times agreed upon) by the Coreper. There are two configurations, which prepare the files for two different sets of Council configurations, Coreper I and Coreper II.

Conditionality mechanism

When talking about the Rule of Law at the EU level, ‘conditionality mechanism’ refers to the Rule of Law conditionality regulation, which allows the Commission to suspend the funding to a Member State if there is a breach of the Rule of Law which poses a risk to the EU budget. The proposal must be approved by the Council. 

Conference of Presidents

The Conference of Presidents is the political body of the Parliament that is responsible for the organisation of Parliament’s business and legislative planning, deciding the responsibilities and membership of committees and delegations, and relations with other EU institutions, the national parliaments and non-EU countries. It consists of the President of the European Parliament and the political group chairs. Non-attached MEPs have one seat, without the right to vote. 


In a committee, the coordinators are the MEPs designated by their political group to coordinate the group’s work within the committee.

Corporate capture

Although different definitions of ‘corporate capture’ exist, the  Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation in the EU considers corporate capture evident when a particular policy area exhibits certain key tendencies, which suggest that decision-making in that area has often been captured by corporate interests. It identifies ten typical situations of corporate capture: 1) The outcome is policies and regulations that are in industries’ interests and often against the public interest; 2) Industry/corporations have privileged access to decision-making and regulation over a long period (they are often long-term trusted partners); 3) There are formal and informal channels of communication between industry and policy-makers (social events, club memberships, receptions); 4) Revolving door cases and/or other conflicts of interest occur; 5) Policy issues are removed from the public (high technical complexity, low public awareness); 6) Contacts are usually not happening in a transparent way; 7) The policy debate is framed in industry’s interests, through the use of concepts like ‘sound science’, innovation, better regulation, competitiveness, etc; 8) There is heavy industry lobby strength, with practical evidence of big expenditures, many staff, etc; 9) It is usually not illegal but illegitimate, and undermines public trust in democratic decision-makers; 10) The industry/corporation often has a certain power over decision-makers (financial or jobs arguments, the need for data, expertise, etc).

Council configuration

Meeting of the EU ministers on the same topic to discuss and vote on policy files. There is no hierarchy among the Council configurations, and the decisions of a configuration are binding for the whole Council.

Council Preparatory Bodies

The Council Preparatory Bodies are internal bodies of the Council of the EU where Member State representatives prepare the policy files to be approved by the Council configurations. The preparatory bodies can be called ‘Working Parties’ or ‘Committees’.


An EU ‘framework law’ that requires specific laws by the Member States in order to be implemented and applicable.

Directorate General (DG)

Directorates-General are policy departments of the Commission, which develop, implement and manage EU policy, law, and funding programmes. They generally have a function similar to Ministries in the Member States. Each DG is led by a Director-General and politically responds to (at least one) Commissioner.


Informal meeting of the Ministers of Finance of the euro area Member States.

European Ombudsman

The European Ombudsman is an independent and impartial body that holds the EU’s institutions and agencies to account and promotes good administration. The Ombudsman helps people, businesses, and organisations facing problems with the EU’s administration by investigating complaints about maladministration by EU institutions and bodies, as well as by proactively looking into broader systemic issues. 

Euro Summit

Meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the euro area Member States.

Exclusive competence

Area in which the EU alone is able to legislate and adopt binding acts. 


Public Benefit Foundations, a type of CSO, facilitate charitable activities by providing grants to organisations, institutions, or individuals for purposes such as science, education, culture, religion, and other causes. While grant-making is their primary focus, some foundations also directly participate in charitable initiatives or programmes.

Expert groups

Expert groups are the Commission’s consultative bodies, made of public and/or private members, which advise the Commission in the preparation or the implementation of policy initiatives. 


Public Benefit Foundations, a type of CSO, facilitate charitable activities by providing grants to organisations, institutions, or individuals for purposes such as science, education, culture, religion, and other causes. While grant-making is their primary focus, some foundations also directly participate in charitable initiatives or programmes.

Head of Unit

The Heads of Unit are mid-level civil servant positions within the Commission; they are in charge of a team which concretely carries out the day-to-day policy work on the files, policies and programmes promoted by the Commission. 


Intergroups are informal forums for informal exchanges of views on specific issues across different political groups, and contact between Members and civil society or stakeholders. Each is composed of Members from at least three different political groups.


Lobbying can generally be defined as any attempt to influence a politician or public official on a specific policy issue. 

National delegation

In the context of the political groups, the national delegations are called the groupings of MEPs from the same national political party. They are led by a head of delegation. NB: in the same political group there can be more than one party from the same country; in that case, they normally organise themselves separately.

Non-governmental Organisation (NGO)

NGOs, as part of CSOs, operate independently from public authorities. They serve as a bridge between citizens and politics. NGOs inform citizens about political developments and empower or facilitate their political participation. In parallel, they point out central societal concerns to politicians. NGOs also provide services that respond to needs present in society, advocate for change, and act as watchdogs towards the institutions.

Non-profit Organisation (NPO)

NPOs are all those organisations that are neither profit-making companies nor public authorities of the state or local government. They are dedicated to pursuing objectives for the common good, with no primary aim of generating financial gains. Any secondary economic activities can only be undertaken in order to achieve the social or altruistic mission of the organisation and profits cannot be distributed among its members.

Ordinary legislative procedure

Main legislative procedure for EU lawmaking in which the European Parliament and the Council of the EU both need to approve a law and have both the possibility to amend it.

Parliament Delegation

The Parliament Delegations are official subgroups of MEPs, representing all the political groups and the non-attached members, which maintain relations and exchange information with parliaments in non-EU countries.

Permanent Representations (PermRep)

The Permanent Representations of the Member States of the European Union represent their Member States in all the preparatory meetings of the Council, as most of the real decisions within the Council happen before the formal meeting of the Ministers.

Political group

The Members of the European Parliament are organised into transnational political groups. Political groups are formed by at least 23 MEPs from one-quarter of the Member States. MEPs not affiliated with a political group are called ‘non-attached (NI)’. Each political group takes care of its own internal organisation by appointing a chair (or two co-chairs in the case of some groups), a bureau and a secretariat. Political Groups are crucial actors in the Parliament’s plenary, but also in the committees and delegations.


In a committee, the rapporteur is the MEP in charge of preparing the policy file (legislative or non-legislative) for the Committee and presenting it to the Plenary.


An EU law directly applicable to the whole of the Union.

Revolving doors

Movement of individuals from the public sector to the private or voluntary sector within the same field, and vice-versa, leading to potential conflicts of interest.

Rule of Law cycle

The Rule of Law cycle, also called the Rule of Law Mechanism, is an annual cycle of dialogue between the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament together with the Member States as well as national parliaments, civil society and other stakeholders on the rule of law. Its foundation is the annual Rule of Law Report.

Shared competence

Area in which both the EU and the Member States can adopt legally binding acts. The Member States can exercise that competence if the EU has not exercised it yet, or it has decided not to.

Shadow rapporteur

In a committee, the shadow rapporteurs are MEPs appointed by their political group to be in charge of a particular file and negotiate with the rapporteur.

Supportive competence

Area where the  EU can only intervene to support, coordinate or complement the action of its Member States. Legally binding EU acts must not require the harmonisation of the laws or regulations of the Member States. 


The College of Commissioners

The College of Commissioners is the collective body which gathers all the EU Commissioners. The publication of official Commission documents has to be approved by the College of Commissioners.



Informal meetings between the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council over a legislative file to find an agreement between the Council and the Parliament on a common text to be submitted to the formal approval of both institutions. In the trilogues, the Commission acts as a mediator.


Social media


Project information

Project Type: Collaborative Project

Call: H2020 SC6 GOVERNANCE-01-2019: Trust in Governance

Start: February 2020

Duration: 48 Months

Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Christian Lahusen,
University of Siegen

Grant Agreement No: 870572

EU-funded Project Budget: € 2,978,151.25