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Institutions of the European Union

Institutions of the European Union (4th edn)

Dermot Hodson and John Peterson
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date: 07 December 2021

p. 1085. The College of Commissioners: Supranational leadership and presidential politicslocked

p. 1085. The College of Commissioners: Supranational leadership and presidential politicslocked

  • John Peterson

Abstract

This chapter examines the normative question of what kind of organization the College of Commissioners, the European Commission’s most political level, should be: a policy entrepreneur, an honest broker, a manager of decisions taken by others, or an engine of integration. It first traces the origins and history of the College of Commissioners before discussing its structure, focusing on the President, the college itself, and the cabinets. It then considers the Commission’s powers and its influence over most ‘history-making’ decisions about the broad sweep of European integration. The chapter also explores the politics underlying the Presidency by looking at the case of two controversial presidents of the Commission, Jacques Santer and Jean-Claude Juncker. It argues that the Commission and most of what it does have always been highly politicized despite its ambitions to be an honest broker between national interests and an independent guardian of the European Union’s Treaties.

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