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Chapter

Cover The Institutions of the European Union

8. The European Commission:  

the cabinets and the services

Frédéric Mérand

Focusing on the services and the cabinets, this chapter analyses the European Commission as a complex organizational, political, and social institution. Organizationally, it describes the Commission as a unique international bureaucracy which puts its French administrative tradition, consensus-based, and law-heavy internal procedures under the growing influence of an Anglo-American style of management. Politically, the chapter shows that the Commission increasingly behaves like a political executive that seeks to establish its own legitimacy vis-à-vis public opinion and member states by addressing partisan dynamics in the European Parliament. In terms of social relations, the chapter draws from the author’s ethnographic work to explore the transnational life of Commission civil servants and cabinet staffers who have made the Berlaymont their home.

Chapter

Cover European Union Politics

10. The European Commission  

Morten Egeberg

This chapter provides a general introduction to the European Commission, the main executive body of the European Union (EU). It argues that it is more productive to compare the Commission to national executives or to a government than to a secretariat of a traditional international organization. It begins with a summary of the Commission’s functions within the EU’s policy process. It then considers the question of Commission influence and autonomy, before moving on to look at the structure, demography, and decision behaviour within the organization—that is, at the role of the President of the Commission and the Commissioners, at the Commissioners’ personal staffs, and at the Commission administration. It then examines the committees and administrative networks that link the Commission to national administrations and interest groups, and the recent growth of EU agencies. The chapter concludes by emphasizing that the Commission is much more of a European(ized) and supranational institution than it was at its inception.

Chapter

Cover Policy-Making in the European Union

3. The EU Policy Process in Comparative Perspective  

Alasdair R. Young and Christilla Roederer-Rynning

This chapter examines the European Union’s policy-making process with a comparative perspective. It outlines the stages of the policy-making process (agenda-setting, policy formation, decision-making, implementation, and policy feedback) and considers the prevailing approaches to analysing each of these stages. It also shows how these approaches apply to studying policy-making in the EU. Themes addressed in this chapter include policy-making and the policy cycle, the players in the policy process, executive politics, legislative politics, and judicial politics. The chapter argues that theories rooted in comparative politics and international relations can help elucidate the different phases of the EU’s policy process. It concludes by explaining why policy-making varies across issue areas within the EU.