The European Commissionís job is to represent the interests of the European Union itself and in order to do so it is independent of national governments. Commissioners are required to leave national interests behind and consider the interests of Europe as a whole.
The Commission's job is to propose legislation to the European Parliament and the Council, who amend and vote on it. Once policy is agreed by the other institutions it is up to the European Commission to ensure that legislation is properly implemented by the Member States as agreed. The Commission can send Member States to the European Court of Justice
if they fail to meet their EU obligations.
When appointed, Commissioners are required to leave national interests behind in favour of considering the interests of Europe as a whole. They manage all the divisions of the Commission's work from transport policy to fisheries and everything in between. Irelandís nomination as Commissioner for 2010-14 was MŠire Geoghegan-Quinn
who holds the portfolio for Research, Innovation and Science.
The role of NGOs
NGOs have a privileged role in their dealings with the European Commission as they represent various societal interests and are needed to make balanced policy. The Commission asks NGOs for their opinions in a variety of ways, including:
- convening special stakeholder conferences
- meeting representatives on a one-to-one basis
Other ways of engaging with the Commission, particularly in a consultative or policy-influencing role, are covered through this site.
Selecting the Commission
Commissioners are nominated solely by Member State Governments, and these nominations have to be approved by the European Parliament before Commissioners can take their positions. While Commissioners can certainly function as a link between their home country and the Commission, Commissioners are required to act in the best interests of the European Union as a whole, to act independently, and not to take instruction from their national governments.
A new Commission is appointed every five years, within six months of the elections to the European Parliament.
The Commission President
is appointed by agreement between EU member states and has responsibility for deciding which Commissioner is responsible for which policy area.
Like any civil service, the Commission is divided into departments, called Directorates-General (DGs). Each Directorate-General works for one of the Commissioners in a specific policy area and prepares proposals which can then be put forward in the weekly meetings of the College of Commissioners (see Commission Proposals
for more detail).
Within the DGs. the Director General, under the Commissioner, undertakes the day to day management of the different units in the organisation. You can see how these are structured from the following example: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/environment/directory.htm
The Commission outside Brussels
In total there are more than 25,000 people from across all EU countries who work within the Commission. They are not just stationed in Brussels but in all the EU Member States and in Delegations include this a link maybe? in countries with which the EU has dealings.
The Commission has a public office in Ireland which provides information on European affairs to the general public. The Irish Representation
office at 18 Dawson Street, Dublin 2 is also a source of public information through publications, multimedia facilities and educational visits. Information officers are on hand to deal with specific queries and there is a Citizens Signpost Legal Adviser who is available to give advice and information on citizensí rights in the European Union. Contacting the Irish office is important, as part of the Irish Representationís job is to gather information and keep the Commission in Brussels informed of various political, social and economic developments in Ireland. The Representation also conducts public consultations on Commission policy proposals.
To learn more about the work of the Commission please click here :