The European Commission

The European Commission is the EU’s executive body. It represents the interests of the European Union as a whole (not the interests of individual countries).

The Commission’s main roles are to:

  • Propose legislation which is then adopted by the co-legislators, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers
  • Enforce European law (where necessary with the help of the Court of Justice of the EU)
  • Set objectives and priorities for action, outlined yearly in the Commission Work Programme and work towards delivering them
  • Manage and implement EU policies and the budget
  • Represent the Union outside Europe (negotiating trade agreements between the EU and other countries, for example.).

The European Commission has its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, and some services also in Luxembourg. The Commission has Representations in all EU Member States and 139 Delegations across the globe.

A new team of 28 Commissioners (one from each EU Member State) is appointed every five years.

The candidate for President of the Commission is proposed to the European Parliament by the European Council that decides by qualified majority and taking into account the elections to the European Parliament.

The Commission President is then elected by the European Parliament by a majority of its component members (which corresponds to at least 376 out of 751 votes).

Following this election, the President-elect selects the 27 other members of the Commission, on the basis of the suggestions made by Member States. The final list of Commissioners-designate has then to be agreed between the President-elect and the Council. The Commission as a whole needs the Parliament’s consent. Prior to this, Commissioners-designate are assessed by the European Parliament committees.

The current Commission’s term of office runs until 31 October 2019 and the President is Jean-Claude Juncker.

European Commission (