A metaphor commonly used to describe the EU as a structure resting on three pillars.
The first so-called “community pillar” allows supra-national decisions under the control of the EU Court in Luxembourg.
The second pillar is concerned with the intergovernmental area of security and foreign policy CFSP.
The third pillar refers to the intergovernmental area of Justice and Home Affairs.
Matters within the latter two are gradually being shifted from the national to the supra-national level where they are governed by EU law.

The future

The Convention on the Future of Europe proposes the abolition of this three-pillar structure of the EU. It will bring the three pillars together and provide the European Union with one legal personality.
Then the EU will become a full international actor in its own right, capable of concluding international agreements with third countries with areas where the EU has the internal legislative competence.