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European Commission

CommflagStatus EU institution
Role Executive cabinet
Established 1958
Current college Barroso Commission
President José Manuel Barroso
First Vice-President Catherine Ashton
Vice-Presidents Viviane Reding, Joaquín Almunia, Siim Kallas, Neelie Kroes, Antonio Tajani, Maroš Šefčovič
Total members Twenty-seven
Working languages English, French, German
Departments Twenty-four
Location Brussels (Belgium), Luxembourg (Luxembourg)

The European Commission, based in Brussels (Berlaymont building) is, with the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, one of the main institutions of the European Union. Established by the Treaty of Rome of 1957 (sections 155 to 163), it is composed of one Commissioner per Member State, 27 commissaires. Its current president is Portuguese José Manuel Durão Barroso since November 2004. It was reinvested for a second term in 2009.

Its main function is to propose and implement Community policies. “Guardian of the Treaties”, it ensures their implementation and enjoys a virtual monopoly of the right of initiative in the field of exclusive competence of the Union, such as the customs union, the conservation of biological resources of the sea, the internal market, the single currency.

It plays, in principle, a central role as a guarantor of “general interest” of the EU, which bases its monopoly of legislative initiative. In democratic political systems, the European Commission has the originality to represent the “general interest” while not directly after the European Parliament elected him, by universal suffrage.

If the role of the Commission has similarities with national governments, however it differs in many aspects.

The Commission is in principle independent of the governments of the Member States. However, the Commissioners are often politicians who, for the duration of a European warrant or two, leaving their national stage to return ensuite. In addition, the Commission”s budget depends on Member States. The Commission is accountable to the European Parliament that can censor but solely on its management and by a two-thirds vote of Parliament which distinguishes this “power of control” that usually observed in parliamentary systems. It shares the executive and legislative powers with the Council of Ministers. Its mandate is five years. The Commissioners are assisted by a central government that is by its workforce (27 000 people in 2007), the largest of the European Union. Its headquarters is in Brussels Berlaymont building.

The successive Commission since 1958 have been more or less dynamic. It must indeed see action behind the Presidents of the Commission and the European Commissioners the importance of the overall context of European integration.

Materials translated and adapted from the Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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