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Cover The Institutions of the European Union

5. The European Commission:  

from collegiality to presidential leadership

Hussein Kassim

This chapter examines the role of the Commission presidency and the development of the office over the Commission’s lifetime. Situating the role played by the president within the context of the Commission’s responsibilities and the division of institutional labour in the wider EU system, it describes the transformation of the office and the emergence of new models of political leadership within the institution. The chapter compares the approach of the three most recent Commission presidents—José Manuel Barroso, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Ursula von der Leyen—in style, policy, and organization. It considers the impact and consequences of presidentialization and presidentialism in the Commission and the EU system.