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The European Commission Cheat Sheet by

Cheat sheet on Executive body of EU.


Each Community had it's own body at first, but due to the Merger Treaty (1965), ECSC, EEC and Euratom were merged into 1 single Commis­sion.
When ECSC expired, it's assets went to the Commis­sion.

Compos­ition of the EU Commission

The President
7 Vice Presidents
20 other commis­sioners
Lisbon Treaty made Commission with 1 person per Member State including the High Repres­ent­ative for Foreign Affairs.

system is establ­ished by the European Council.

How the President is Appointed

Because of Lisbon Treaty, President is indirectly elected.

The European Council acting by a qualified majority, propose a candidate for the Commission president to the parlia­ment.

The candidate is elected by parliament by majority.
if the candidate does not get majority from parlia­ment, council has to propose someone new for president.

How the Commis­sioners are Appointed

Member states suggest people for Commis­sio­ners. The Council will act as a majority with the Presid­ent­-elect, will make a list of proposed commis­sioners (based on the sugges­tions of member states).

The commis­sioners are then either approved or rejected by parlia­ment, and if approved, the council appoints the president and commis­sio­ners.

The President

Commission operates under guidance of its President, who lays down guidelines for working of Commis­sion.
Decides on internal organi­sation.
Appoints vice-p­res­idents.
Commission duties are given by president.
Can request resign­ation of a commis­sioner.

The Vice-P­res­idents

Can act in the name of the President.
Co-ord­inate work of commis­sioners in their area of respon­sib­ility.
Commission proposals will not be discussed by the rest of commission if it has not been recognised by first vice-p­res­ident.

The Commis­sioners

Chosen by general competence and their indepe­ndence has to be absolute.
Work in general interest of EU.
Even though they come from member states, they do not represent their state.
Take decisions by majority vote.
Each have their own staff/­cab­inet.
They will be forced to retire if they no longer are competent or if they perform miscon­duct.


The commission has collective accoun­tab­ility to parlia­ment. If parliament want everyone to resign, they would have to resign.

Organi­sation and Operation

The Commission works under the guidance of the president and has a secret­ari­at-­general of 33 direct­ora­tes­-ge­neral who develop, manage and implement EU policy, law and funding.

There are 20 special depart­ments that deal with necessary issues. There are also 6 executive agencies that perform tasks given to them by the Commission (have their own legal person­ality).

Commission meets every 6 weeks to discuss politi­cally sensitive issues and adopt proposals.

Legisl­ative Power

Commission is the only instit­ution that can propose new laws which Council and Parliament adopt.
Main role is to take initiative in proposing EU legisl­ation.
Commission is not free to choose its own activities and obliged to act if Union interest requires it.
Most proposals will have to be approved by Council and EP, but Commission can act as a 'motor of integr­ation'.
Commission develops overall legisl­ative plan for every year.
Exercises legisl­ative power through its capacity too enact EU norms.
Exercises delegated power to make further regula­tions in certain areas.

Admini­str­ative Power

Commission manages progra­mmes, policies have to be admini­stered and law must be implem­ented.
Implements the budget and member states will make payments due to the EU through monthly payments.
Admini­sters executive agencies which helped the European Commission manage EU progra­mmes.
Exercises powers to implement legisl­ative acts.
Maintains a superv­isory overview to ensure that rules are obeyed.

Executive Power

Plays a role in establ­ishing EU's budget by drawing up a draft budget.
Each instit­ution other than Commission makes estimates including all revenue and expend­iture to send to commis­sion.
Exercises power in external relations by repres­enting EU in formal and informal negoti­ations and exchanges.
Represents EU at intern­ational organi­sat­ions.
Is a key point of contact between EU and non-me­mbers.
Has 139 delega­tions across the world to negotiate intern­ati­onally.

Judicial Power

Enforces EU law and ensures that treaties are enforced.
If Member State does not obey direct­ives, Commission could open formal infrin­gement proced­ures.
Art 17(1) TEU says Commission must ensure applic­ation of Treaties and law and oversees applic­ation of EU law under ECJ.


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