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The European Commission
Transcript of The European Commission
Commission The Commission is made up of 27 commissioners, one from each member state. Each commissioner is in charge of a certain policy area e.g. agriculture or education. Each commissioner serves a term of five years. They are appointed by national governments then confirmed by vote in European Parliament. These commissioners are not national representatives of their national governments. There are Over two thousand permanent EU civil servants based in Brussels carry out the work of the Commission within thirty Directorates-General, which deal with all areas of economic and social policy as well as external affairs, the management of the EU itself and services such as legal advice and translation. Each Commissioner is supported by their own cabinet of advisors. This figure is the international representative of the EU, and the closest thing to the 'leader'. Members of the Barroso
(2010-2014) President of the Commission José Barroso Vice President Catherine Ashton Vice President Viviane Reding High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Vice President Joaquín Almunia Competition Vice President Siim Kallas Transport Vice President Neelie Kroes Digital Agenda Vice President Antonio Tajani Industry and Entrepreneurship Truths and Myths about the European Commission Truth Myth Eurosceptics argue that the Commission is big, expensive and powerful, meddling with internal affairs of member states, the leaders are not elected and it has too little public accountability. The Commission only has 20,000 staff, 2/3 of which actively work on policy. It also only uses €3.3b of the EU budget, or just under 3%. It's role is more of a servant of states than decision making (that power lying with the Council of Ministers). Though the commissioners are not elected, they are appointed by national government leaders and having them elected would give them more powers than Eurosceptics would like. Facts about the European Commission
The Treaty of Rome emphasises the independence of Commissioners. While they are in the post they must show no allegiance to their home country. Pros and Cons of the European Commission Pros Cons A powerful central bureaucracy means that member states can come together to create policies that they might not have the will to make on their own.
The EU is run by experts from all twenty-seven member states who are able to pool their abilities in the Commission. They are above national politics.
The Commission bureaucracy is relatively small, yet achieves a great deal. x The Commission's accountability is unclear because there is no direct election of Commissioners.
x A centralised Commission is distant from European citizens' everyday lives. The general task of the Commission is to ensure that EU policies are advances in light of the treaties. This is done in five ways Power of initiation The Comission makes sure that the principles of treaties are turned into laws and policies. Proposals can come from a commissioner or a staff member of one of the DG's, may be a response to a ruling by the Courts of Justice, may flow out of the requirements of the treaties or may come out of pressure exerted by member state governments, interest groups, the European Council, the European Parliament and even private corporations Powers of
implementation Once a policy or law is accepted, the Commission is responsible for making sure that it is implemented by member states. It has no power to do this directly, but works through national bureaucracies such as writing warnings. The Commission adds to the pressure by publicizing progress of implementation, hoping to embarrass the laggards into action. Acting as a conscience of the EU The Commission is expected to rise above competing national interests and to represent and promote the general interests of the EU. It is also expected to help smooth the flow of decision making by mediating disagreements between or among member states and other EU institutions. Management of EU finances The Commission also makes sure that all EU revenues are collected, plays a key role in drafting and guiding the annual budget through the Council of Ministers and Parliament, and administers EU spending. External Relations The Commission has been given the authority by the member states to represent the EU in dealings with international organisations such as the UN and World Trade Organisation.