- Simon Bulmer, Simon BulmerProfessor of Politics, University of Sheffield
- Owen Parker, Owen ParkerLecturer in European Politics, University of Sheffield
- Ian Bache, Ian BacheProfessor of Politics, University of Sheffield
- Stephen GeorgeStephen GeorgeEmeritus Professor of Politics, University of Sheffield
- and Charlotte BurnsCharlotte BurnsProfessor, University of Sheffield
This chapter examines the European Commission’s functions and structure, along with its role in policy making. The Commission initiates legislation, may act as a mediator, manages some policy areas, is guardian of the Treaties, is a key actor in international relations, and the ‘conscience of the European Union’. The chapter proceeds by discussing the debate on the extent to which the Commission is an autonomous political actor or simply an agent of the member states. Finally, it analyses the increasing challenges faced by the Commission in securing effective implementation of EU policies and its response to concerns over its financial management of EU programmes.