Commission

Commission meeting (Photo: EU Commission)

LATEST NEWS

All member states have nominated candidates for the Barroso II Commission. Commission President José Manuel Barroso has distributed all portfolios. Hearings started in the European Parliament 11 January 2010. The new Commission was approved by absolute majority of MEPs and started working from February onward. For their salaries see under the word: Salaries

The European Parliament cannot reject a single candidate but only threaten to block the full commission. Approval requires an absolute majority of MEPs = 369 og 736 MEPs. (Later a new Protocol may increase absolute majority to 378 of 754 MEPs.)

The Barroso II Commission is composed of 13 members from the European Peoples Party, EPP, 8 from the Liberal ALDE party and 6 Socialists and Democrats, S-D. There are no members from other political groupings.

Here is the list from euobserver.com - the last time that member states nominate their "own" commissioners. From 2014 member states can only put forward "suggestions" to the Commission.

The candidates for the Commission are nominated under the Treaty of Nice. The Lisbon Treaty enters into force 1 December 2009. The full team will therefore be approved under the new treaty. This requires an absolute majority of MEPs instead of a simple majority before 1 December 2009.

 

Barroso Commission II

Austria - Johannes Hahn (EPP) - Regional policy

Belgium - Karel de Gucht (ELDR) - Trade

Bulgaria - Kristalina Georgieva (EPP) - International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response

Cyprus - Androulla Vassiliou (ELDR) - Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth

Czech Republic - Stefan Fuele (PES) - Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy

Denmark - Connie Hedegaard (EPP) - Climate Action

Estonia - Siim Kallas (ELDR) - Transport, Vice-President

Finland - Olli Rehn (ELDR) - Economic and Monetary Affairs

France - Michel Barnier (EPP) - Internal Market and Services

Germany - Günther Oettinger (EPP) - Energy

Greece - Maria Damanaki (PES) - Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Hungary - László Andor (PES) - Employment, Soclai Affairs and Inclusion

Ireland - Maire Geoghegan-Quinn (ELDR) - Research, Innovation and Science

Italy - Antonio Tajani (EPP) - Industry and Entrepreneurship, Vice-President

Latvia - Andris Piebalgs (EPP) - Development

Lithuania - Algirdas Šemeta (EPP) - Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud

Luxembourg - Viviane Reding (EPP) - Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Vice-President

Malta - John Dalli (EPP) - Health and Consumer Policy

The Netherlands - Neelie Kroes (ELDR) - Digital Agenda, Vice-President

Poland - Janusz Lewandowski (EPP) - Budget

Portugal - Commission President José Manuel Barroso (EPP)

Romania - Dacian Ciolos (EPP) - Agriculture

Slovakia - Maros Sefcovic (PES) - Institutional Affairs and Administration, Vice-President

Slovenia - Janez Potocnik (ELDR) - Environment

Spain - Joaquín Almunia (PES) - Competition, Vice-President

Sweden - Cecilia Malmström (ELDR) - Home Affairs

United Kingdom - Catherine Ashton (PES) - EU foreign policy chief, Vice-President

EXPLANATION

The Commission in Brussels is the motor of integration and government for the EU with the monopoly of initiating all  EU laws.

A commission is normally a group of people that investigates certain matters or, for example, prepares a new law. The EU uses the word for its main law-making and administrative (executive) body, which exercises legislative, executive and certain judicial powers.

The Commission is the only body in the EU that can propose a new law. This is called the monopoly of the right of initiative. No other organisation or country has established a body with similar competences. The Council can only change a law proposal from the Commission if all member states agree.  

 

Role

The Commission effectively propose the majority of EU rules on its own by deciding what draft laws to propose under the Treaties. However, the most important laws are then decided by the Council of Ministers, with powers of amendment with the European Parliament. The Commission can fine companies and bring member states before the Court for alleged breaches of their obligations under the Treaties. 

 

Appointment

First, a European summit of Prime Ministers appoint a candidate for Commission President. From 2014 the decision will be adopted by 72% of the Prime Ministers also representing 65% of all EU citizens. The candidate must then be approved by the European Parliament by absolute majority in the European Parliament.

Then every member state "suggest" possible names as its commisisoner for the Commission President. The President then consult the prime ministers and the political groups to compose a Commission which shall be adopted by 72% of the member states representing 65% of all EU citizens.

In the end the full college must be elected by an absolute majority of members - MEPs - in the European Parliament. See Art. 17.7 TEU in the Lisbon Treaty.

Art. 214.2.2 TEC in the Nice Treaty can be consulted for the previous procedures where the Commission was formally appointed by a qualified majority - 255 of 345 weigted votes from at least 18 of the 27 Prime Ministers in the European Council and then approved by a simple majority in the European Parliament.

The Lisbon Treaty changed the requirement from simple to absolute majority of MEPs.

The Commission can be sacked by a two-thirds majority of the European Parliament.

The Commission has a General Secretariat headed by a secretary general and 23 standing Directorates General.

 

Activity

In 2010 the Commission took 305 decisions by oral procedure, 2,785 by written procedure, 2,151 by delegation and 4,329 by subdelegation. In total 9,570 decisions were adopted by the Commission in 2010.

In 2008 the Commission took 9,571 decisions,  269 in oral procedure, 3,067 in written procedure between the cabinets of the commissioners, 2,227 in empowerment procedures and 4,008 in delegation or sub-delegation.

The Commission also decided 2,125 implementing measures in so-called comitology procedures. The number was 2,522 in 2007 and 2,901 in 2006.

97% of all Commisison decisions were taken by written procedure, delegation or subdelegation. Only 2,3% were taken in oral meetings - in 2008 269 of 11,696 decisions including implementing measures.

The commissioners did not have a vote on a single issue during Barrosos first five years as Commission President. The  Commission confirmed this in a letter of 15 May 2009.

In 2008 the Commission met 43 times and produced 420 proposals for directives, regulations and decisions and 10 recommandations. It presented 318 communications and reports, 9 Green Papers and one White Paper.

In 2006 the Commission met 43 times and sent 462 proposals for directives, regulations and decisions and made 3 recommandations. It also presented 358 communications and reports, 11 Green Papers and 4 White Papers.

In 2002 the Commission met 46 times, sent 1287 proposals to the Council and the European Parliament. These proposals consisted of 54 directives, 599 regulations and 634 decisions.

The Commission is in charge of  some 3000 secret working groups. These groups are set up for agenda setting, preparing initiatives, mobilising political and organisational support and building consensus,  and sometimes as an admninistrative fig-leaf when it is desired that no action should occur. 

The future

The Lisbon Treaty has changed the appointment procedure of Commissioners. Under the Nice Treaty member states "propose" their national commissioners and have an effective right of veto in deciding them.  Under Lisbon the member states will only "suggest" names for decision to the already appointed Commission President.

The Lisbon Treaty provided for a rotation system for Commissioners so that only 2/3 of the member states could be represented  on the Commission at any one  time. This proposal was given up after the Irish referendum on 12 June 2008 rejecting the Lisbon Treaty.

See Art. 17-18 TEU and 244 - 250 TFEU of the Lisbon Treaty. The rules in the Nice Treaty shall be found in the special protocol on enlargement, Art. 4 - page 348 in the reader friendly edition of the Nice Treaty. Here it is mentioned that the following Commission shall be smaller than one from each member state when the EU has reached 27 members. A rotation system shall be adopted unanimously. 

"The number of Members of the Commission shall be set by the Council, acting unanimously". The new system shall replace Art. 213 TEC stating: "The Commission must include at least one national of each of the Member States".


Links

See also Salaries, Censure and Commission President and Bonde list 

http://ec.europa.eu/index_en.htm