Europe explained: How the EU deals with the rest of the world
26 July 2013 Last updated at 16:32 BST
From the outside, the way the European Union is organised can appear confusing and bound up in red tape.
But each of the EU's institutions plays its own important part in the union's checks and balances.
Brussels Correspondent Matthew Price got access to the corridors of power at the EU's diplomatic corps, the European External Action Service.