Power Relationships II: The European Commission

Further to the previous article, the European Union's functions, as defined, is being printed here.

European Commission: it is the executive body of the European Union. It acts as the guardian of the EU treaties to ensure that EU legislation is applied correctly, prepares policy initiatives and presents legislation suggestions, and serves as an authority in certain fields. As regards economic policy, the Commission provides recommendations for economic guidelines and reports matters relating to economic development and economic policy to the Council of the European Union. It monitors the public economy status of the member states and makes reports on this to the Council. The Commission has 25 members, one from each country (joined EU before 1.1.2007).

Defined further, the European Commission is effectively the EU's civil service. It has powers of initiative, implementation, management and control. It is the guardian of the Treaties and the embodiment of the interests of the Community. It is composed of 20 Commissioners (two each from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom and one each from all the other countries), including a President and two Vice Presidents. It is appointed for a five year term by the Council, subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament, to which it is answerable. The Commissioners are assisted by an administration made up of Directorates General and specialised departments.

Negotiations are taking place during the current intergovernmental conference over the future composition of the Commission. The convention responsible for drawing up a draft Treaty has suggested having a Commission made up of 15 full Commissioners and 15 Deputies who would not have voting rights, though a system where each Member State has at least one Commissioner seems more likely to be approved.

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