The European Commission
The European Commission is the driving force of the European institutional system : it ensures that the European Treaties are respected, it proposes and implements measures to further deepen the community policies.
The activities of the European Commission comprise 5 main key areas :
- it submits legislation to the Parliament and to the Council of the European Union (proposals for a Directive)
- it is responsible for the implementation of the decisions of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union
- it is politically accountable to the European Parliament, which can dismiss it by adopting a motion of censure
- it manages and implements the policies as well as the budget of the EU
- it represents the EU in the international arena, for instance by negotiating agreements between the EU and the other countries.
The 27 members of the European Commission are appointed on the basis of an agreement between the national governments, adopted by the Council of Ministers. They are referred to as "Commissioners". Each of them is auditioned before the European Parliament, which approves or rejects their candidature.
The European Commission operates on a collegial basis. It is appointed for 5 years.
The independence of the Commission from the Member States is guaranteed and the Commissioners perform their duties in the general interest of the European Union.
The administrative apparatus of the European Commission is based on 38 000 officials and other servants. They are divided into 46 Directorates-General (DG) and Services placed under the responsibility of a Commissioner. Each DG or Service is in charge of a specific area such as the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal opportunities.