As Europeans mark the days until they head to the polls, voters and overseas observers alike can take a moment to polish their understanding of one of the world's largest legislatures.

The E.U. is the most complicated political organization the world has ever seen, with countless confusing interrelationships and institutions - of which the European Parliament, which E.U. citizens get to vote for this week, just one part of a vast organization. Little wonder, then, that hardly anyone understands how the damned thing works.

The following video is certainly simplistic, but is nonetheless a handy introduction to how the various parts of the E.U. fit together, who does what, where our elected representatives in the European Parliament (and, of course, in the Council) fit in to the equation, and even some of the problems of the current system for the scrutiny of E.U. legislation. If you're unsure of why the European Parliament matters, this is well worth a few minutes of your time.


For a bit more depth on the E.U. this week consider one of Big Think's most prescient voices on Europe, EuroNews chief Philippe de Cayla.

J Clive Matthews, aka, Nosemonkey, follows European affairs at EUtopia.