If Jacques Delors, one of the most famous President of the European Commission (between 1985 and 1995), called the European Union as a UPO or Unidentified Political Object, it can be explained by the special characteristics of its architecture. The European Commission (EC) is undoubtedly one of the key institutions of the EU, one that makes of the Union an international organization very different from the others. In a lot of articles we can read that the EC has taken a very important decision, or that a politician of a member state criticized the influence of "Brussels". Because of its importance and its specificities, it's very interesting to try to analyze this very special institution, which is an original body if one considered its history, its powers and its composition. In May 1950, in his Declaration from the Salon de l'Horloge, Robert Schuman proposed to place France and West Germany's production of coal and steel under joint management. The institution that was created to manage this production (and the one of the 4 other members of the European Coal and Steel Community) was the High Authority. It consisted in 9 members, and sat in Luxembourg.
[...] The Council is the institution of intergovernmental negotiations and representation of national interests, whereas the Commission should remain the “watchdog” of the European interest. There's however a contradiction in the appointment process. As the governments are responsible for the choice of their “national” Commissioner, they tend to nominate someone that will defend their views and interests The fact that large states (Germany, UK, France, Italy, and Spain) were reluctant in accepting to lose one of their two commissioners symbolized this idea. [...]
[...] However, the idea seems now to be that the Commission should reflect the composition of the European Parliament as it plays a greater role in the European decision making process. This was indeed clearly stated in the Constitutional Treaty. The idea is too link the works of the Commission and of the Parliament. Thus, after the 2004 elections, the President of the Commission was a liberal, linked to the European People Party which is the largest party. But the EPP has no majority and there are Commissioners from the Liberal and Socialist parties. [...]
[...] Websites: http://ec.europa.eu, website of the European Commission http://eur-lex.europa.eu, access to European Union Treaties: - Treaty of Paris (4/18/1951): ECSC - Treaties of Rome (3/25/1957): Treaty Euratom and Treaty establishing the EEC (for the Treaty EC, the numbers are those given in 1997 in the Treaty of Amsterdam) - Treaty of Brussels (4/8/1965): Merger Treaty - Treaty of Maastricht (2/7/1992): Treaty on EU - Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (10/29/2004) APPENDIX List of the Services of the European Commission A. [...]
[...] There are two obvious limits: the fact that the Commission has no power in the 3rd pillar, and the competition between the Commissioner for External relations and the Secretary-General of the Council, High Representative for the CFSP. The heart of the European idea Thanks to its special position within the EU architecture, many senior officers of the Commission and specialists consider that the Commission has a duty of leadership and promotion of the European spirit. In the decision Società Sadam the ECJ recognized that the Commission had a “general mission of initiative” and for instance, according to the article 48 of the TEU, submit to the Council proposals for the amendments of the Treaties”. [...]
[...] The Commission of the European Communities The Merger Treaty of 1965 gathered together the executive bodies of the 3 communities. This Treaty establishing a single council and a single commission of the European Communities simplified the structure of the Communities. There was now only one Commission, seating in Brussels, with the different powers granted by the 3 treaties. Even though the Commission hasn't the same status as the High Authority, it can still be considered as an independent collegiate. In the Article 157 TEC (art. [...]
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