European Commissioner

European Commissioner

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A European Commissioner is a member of the 27-member European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

. Each Member within the college holds a specific portfolio and are led by the President of the European Commission
President of the European Commission
The President of the European Commission is the head of the European Commission ― the executive branch of the :European Union ― the most powerful officeholder in the EU. The President is responsible for allocating portfolios to members of the Commission and can reshuffle or dismiss them if needed...

. In simple terms they are the equivalent of national ministers
Minister (government)
A minister is a politician who holds significant public office in a national or regional government. Senior ministers are members of the cabinet....

.

Appointment


Each Commissioner is first nominated by their member state in consultation with the Commission President, although he holds little practical power to force a change in candidate. However the more capable the candidate is, the more likely the Commission President will assign them a powerful portfolio, the distribution of which is entirely at his discretion. The President's team is then subject to hearings at the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 which will question them and then vote on their suitability as a whole. If members of the team are found to be too inappropriate, the President must then reshuffle the team or request a new candidate from the member state or risk the whole Commission being voted down. As Parliament cannot vote against individual Commissioners there is usually a compromise whereby the worst candidates are removed but minor objections are put aside so the Commission can take office. Once the team is approved by parliament, it is formally put into office by the European Council
European Council
The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

 (TEU Article 17:7).

It should be noted however that although Members of the Commission are allocated between member-states they do not represent their states; instead they are supposed to act in European interests. Normally a member-state will nominate someone of the same political party as that which forms the government of the day. There are exceptions such as Member of the Commission Burke (of Fine Gael
Fine Gael
Fine Gael is a centre-right to centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland. It is the single largest party in Ireland in the Oireachtas, in local government, and in terms of Members of the European Parliament. The party has a membership of over 35,000...

) was nominated by Taoiseach
Taoiseach
The Taoiseach is the head of government or prime minister of Ireland. The Taoiseach is appointed by the President upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas , and must, in order to remain in office, retain the support of a majority in the Dáil.The current Taoiseach is...

 Haughey
Charles Haughey
Charles James "Charlie" Haughey was Taoiseach of Ireland, serving three terms in office . He was also the fourth leader of Fianna Fáil...

 (of Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party , more commonly known as Fianna Fáil is a centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland, founded on 23 March 1926. Fianna Fáil's name is traditionally translated into English as Soldiers of Destiny, although a more accurate rendition would be Warriors of Fál...

), or where larger states had two seats, they often went to the two major parties such as in the United Kingdom.

Partly due to the member-state selection procedure, only 9 of the current 27 Members are women and no ethnic minorities have ever served on a Commission to date. Peter Mandelson
Peter Mandelson
Peter Benjamin Mandelson, Baron Mandelson, PC is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Hartlepool from 1992 to 2004, served in a number of Cabinet positions under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and was a European Commissioner...

 (2004 to October 2008) was the first openly homosexual Commissioner. The first female Commissioners were Christiane Scrivener
Christiane Scrivener
Christiane Scrivener is a French politician, a member of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's Parti républicain ....

 and Vasso Papandreou in the 1989 Delors Commission
Delors Commission
The Delors Commission was the administration of Jacques Delors, the 8th President of the European Commission. Delors presided over the European Commission for three terms The Delors Commission was the administration of Jacques Delors, the 8th President of the European Commission. Delors presided...

.

European Parliament President
President of the European Parliament
The President of the European Parliament presides over the debates and activities of the European Parliament. He or she also represents the Parliament within the EU and internationally. The President's signature is required for enacting most EU laws and the EU budget.Presidents serve...

 Jerzy Buzek
Jerzy Buzek
Jerzy Karol Buzek is a Polish engineer, academic lecturer and politician who was the ninth post-Cold War Prime Minister of Poland from 1997 to 2001...

 proposed in 2010 that Commissioners be directly elected, by member states placing their candidate at the top of their voting lists in European elections
Elections in the European Union
Elections to the Parliament of the European Union take place every five years by universal adult suffrage. 736 MEPs are elected to the European Parliament which has been directly elected since 1979. No other body is directly elected although the Council of the European Union and European Council is...

. That would give them individually, and the body as a whole, a democratic mandate.

Oath


Each Member is required to take an oath before the Court of Justice of the European Union
Court of Justice of the European Union
The Court of Justice of the European Union is the institution of the European Union which encompasses the whole judiciary. Seated in Luxembourg, it has three sub-courts; the European Court of Justice, the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal.The institution was originally established in...

, officially the Solemn Declaration before the Court of Justice of the European Union. As of December 2009, the Charter of Fundamental Rights
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union enshrines certain political, social, and economic rights for European Union citizens and residents, into EU law. It was drafted by the European Convention and solemnly proclaimed on 7 December 2000 by the European Parliament, the Council of...

 has gained legal force and Justice Commissioner
European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom & Security
The Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship is a post in the European Commission. The current commissioner is Viviane Reding....

 Viviane Reding
Viviane Reding
Viviane Reding is a Luxembourgian politician, currently serving as European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. Before starting a professional career as a journalist for the leading newspaper in Luxembourg, the Luxemburger Wort, she obtained a doctorate in human sciences...

 has proposed that Commissioners should swear to uphold it also. The second Barroso Commission
Barroso Commission
The Barroso Commission is the European Commission that has been in office since 22 November 2004 and is due to serve until 2014. Its president is José Manuel Barroso, who presides over 26 other commissioners...

 went to the Court of Justice on 3 May 2010 for the first such oath along side their usual oath.
The oath taken by the members of the current Barroso Commission is below;

History


Until 2004, the larger member states (Spain upwards) received two Commissioners and the smaller states received one. As the size of the body was increasing with enlargement, the larger states lost their second commissioner after the 2004 enlargement
2004 enlargement of the European Union
The 2004 enlargement of the European Union was the largest single expansion of the European Union , both in terms of territory, number of states and population, however not in terms of gross domestic product...

 with the new Barroso Commission
Barroso Commission
The Barroso Commission is the European Commission that has been in office since 22 November 2004 and is due to serve until 2014. Its president is José Manuel Barroso, who presides over 26 other commissioners...

 being appointed under the Treaty of Nice
Treaty of Nice
The Treaty of Nice was signed by European leaders on 26 February 2001 and came into force on 1 February 2003. It amended the Maastricht Treaty and the Treaty of Rome...

.

Nice also specified that once the number of members reached 27 then the number of Commissioners should be reduced to "less than the number of Member States". The exact number of Commissioners would have to be decided by a unanimous vote of the European Council
European Council
The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

 and membership will rotate equally between member states. Following the accession of Romania and Bulgaria
2007 enlargement of the European Union
The 2007 enlargement of the European Union saw Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union on 1 January 2007. It was the latest expansion of the EU, though considered by the European Commission as part of the same wave as the 2004 enlargement of the European Union.-Negotiations:Romania was the...

 in January 2007, this clause took effect for the following commission (appointed after the 2009 European elections
European Parliament election, 2009
Elections to the European Parliament were held in the 27 member states of the European Union between 4 and 7 June 2009. A total of 736 Members of the European Parliament were elected to represent some 500 million Europeans, making these the biggest trans-national elections in history...

).

The failed European Constitution
Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe , , was an unratified international treaty intended to create a consolidated constitution for the European Union...

 first mandated that the number of Commissioners should equal two-thirds of the member states. This could be changed by a vote in the European Council, in case the number was still too high in the future. The Constitution failed ratification but this change was brought in with the Treaty of Lisbon
Treaty of Lisbon
The Treaty of Lisbon of 1668 was a peace treaty between Portugal and Spain, concluded at Lisbon on 13 February 1668, through the mediation of England, in which Spain recognized the sovereignty of Portugal's new ruling dynasty, the House of Braganza....

. However, as Lisbon was being ratified the Irish electorate voted against it with one reason being the fear of losing a Commissioner. The Irish then voted again, in favour for the treaty on a number of conditions; one being that they kept their commissioner.

Thus it is proposed that the member state who doesn't get a Commissioner, will get the post of High Representative, the so called 26+1 formula. Other ideas that have been floated to deal with the high number of commissioners has been the creation of junior members for smaller states, the creation of "super-commissioners".

Another change Lisbon brought, as hinted above, was the creation of the role of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is the main co-ordinator and representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy within the European Union...

 by merging the post of European Commissioner for External Relations with the Council's High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The new more powerful High Representative became ex-officio Vice President of the Commission and would chaired the Council of the European Union
Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

 when Foreign Ministers were meeting.

Accountability


In addition to its role in approving a new Commission, the European Parliament has the power at any time to force the entire Commission to resign through a vote of no confidence. This requires a vote that makes up at least two-thirds of those voting and a majority of the total membership of the Parliament. While it has never used this power, it threatened to use it against the Commission headed by Jacques Santer in 1999 over allegations of corruption. In response, the Santer Commission
Santer Commission
The Santer Commission was the European Commission in office between 23 January 1995 and 15 March 1999. The administration was led by Jacques Santer ....

 resigned en masse of its own accord, the only time a Commission has done so.

Salaries


Commissioner's basic monthly salaries are fixed at 112.5% of the top civil service
European Civil Service
The European Civil Service is the civil service serving the institutions of the European Union, of which the largest employer is the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union...

 grade. This works out at
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

19,909.89. The President is paid at 138% (€24,422.80), Vice Presidents at 125% (€22,122.10) and the High Representative at 130% €23,006.98. There are further allowances on top of this figure.

Portfolios


See Barroso Commission
Barroso Commission
The Barroso Commission is the European Commission that has been in office since 22 November 2004 and is due to serve until 2014. Its president is José Manuel Barroso, who presides over 26 other commissioners...

 for current office holders.

The make up and distribution of portfolios are determined by the Commission President and do not always correspond with the Commissions departments (Directorate-General
Directorate-General
A Directorate-General is a branch of an administration dedicated to a specific field of expertise.* The European Commission: Commission Directorates-General are each headed by a European Commissioner;* The European Patent Office: EPO Directorates-General;...

s). While some have been fairly consistent in make up between each Commission, some have only just been created or are paired with others. With a record number of Members in 2007, the portfolios have become very thin even though the responsibilities of the commission have increased.
State Party Commissioner Portfolio DG
  EPP
European People's Party
The European People's Party is a pro-European centre-right European political party. The EPP was founded in 1976 by Christian democratic parties, but later it increased its membership to include conservative parties and parties of other centre-right perspectives.The EPP is the most influential of...

BarrosoJosé Manuel Barroso President
President of the European Commission
The President of the European Commission is the head of the European Commission ― the executive branch of the :European Union ― the most powerful officeholder in the EU. The President is responsible for allocating portfolios to members of the Commission and can reshuffle or dismiss them if needed...

Secretariat-General
Secretariat-General of the European Commission
The Secretariat-General of the European Commission is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The DG Secretariat-General is based in the Berlaymont in Brussels . The DG Secretariat-General supports the whole of the Commission, and in particular the 27 Commissioners...


Bureau of European Policy Advisers
Bureau of European Policy Advisers (European Commission)
The Bureau of European Policy Advisers is a Directorate-General of the European Commission.The Bureau of European Policy Advisers is a department of the European Commission, reporting directly to the President of the European Commission and under his authority...

, Legal Service
Directorate-General for Legal Service (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Legal Service is a Directorate-General of the European Commission.The Legal Service provides comprehensive in-house assistance to the European Commission and all its departments. Its resources have to be deployed to cover all Commission activities and areas of...

  PES
Party of European Socialists
The Party of European Socialists is a European political party led by Sergei Stanishev, former Prime Minister of Bulgaria. The PES comprises social-democratic national-level political parties primarily from Member state of the European Union, as well as other nations of the European continent. The...

AshtonCatherine Ashton High Representative
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is the main co-ordinator and representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy within the European Union...

External Relations
Directorate-General for External Relations (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for the External Relations was a Directorate-General of the European Commission, responsible for the external policy...

  EPP RedingViviane Reding
Viviane Reding
Viviane Reding is a Luxembourgian politician, currently serving as European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. Before starting a professional career as a journalist for the leading newspaper in Luxembourg, the Luxemburger Wort, she obtained a doctorate in human sciences...

Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Justice, Freedom and Security
Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Justice ' is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The role of the "DG Justice" is to ensure that the whole European Union is an area of freedom, security and justice...


Communication
Directorate-General Communication (European Commission)
The Directorate-General Communication is a Directorate-General of the European Commission.The mission of the DG Communication is:* To inform the media and citizens of the activities of the European Commission and to communicate the objectives and goals of its policies and actions.* To inform the...

  PES AlmuniaJoaquín Almunia
Joaquín Almunia
Joaquín Almunia Amann is a Spanish politician and prominent member of the European Commission, currently responsible for Competition under the second mandate of President Barroso. He was previously responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs in Barroso's previous mandate...

Competition Competition
Directorate-General for Competition (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Competition is a Directorate-General of the European Commission, located in Brussels, Belgium. The DG Competition is responsible for establishing and implementing a coherent competition policy for the European Union. The DG Competition has a dual role in antitrust...

  ELDR
European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party
The European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party is a European political party mainly active in the European Union, composed of 56 national-level liberal and liberal-democratic parties from across Europe...

KallasSiim Kallas
Siim Kallas
Siim Kallas is an Estonian politician, currently serving as European Commissioner for Transport. He is also one of five vice-presidents of the 27-member Barroso Commission...

Transport
European Commissioner for Transport
The Commissioner for Transport is the member of the European Commission. The current commissioner is Siim Kallas.The portfolio is responsible for the development of transport infastructure in the European Union such as road and rail networks but also navigation systems such as the Galileo...

Mobility and Transport
  ELDR KroesNeelie Kroes
Neelie Kroes
Neelie Kroes is a Dutch politician of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy . She served as a Member of the House of Representatives from 3 August 1971 until 28 December 1977 when she became State Secretary for Transport, Public Works and Water Management from 28 December 1977 until 11...

Digital Agenda
European Commissioner for Digital Agenda
The Commissioner for Digital Agenda is a member of the European Commission responsible for media and information issues such as telecoms and IT...

Information Society and Media
Directorate-General for Information Society and Media (European Commission)
EU Directorate General Information Society and Media or "DG Infso" is a Directorate-General of the European Commission.The current European Commissioner for Digital Agenda is Neelie Kroes and the Director-General is Robert Madelin....

  EPP TajaniAntonio Tajani
Antonio Tajani
Antonio Tajani is an Italian politician. He is the current European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship and has also been one of the five Vice-President of the European Commission since May 2008....

Industry and Entrepreneurship Enterprise and Industry
Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The Enterprise Directorate-General works on creating an environment in which European firms can thrive...

  PES SefčovičMaroš Šefčovič
Maroš Šefčovič
Maroš Šefčovič is a Slovak diplomat and the current European Commissioner for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration...

Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration Personnel and Administration
Directorate-General for Personnel and Administration (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Personnel and Administration is a Directorate-General of the European Commission.The essential mission of the Directorate-General is to ensure the European Commission runs smoothly by laying down its policies on human resources and security.-Human Resources:*Career...


Relations with the European Personnel Selection Office
European Personnel Selection Office
The European Personnel Selection Office is responsible for selecting staff to work for the Institutions of the European Union...


Office of Infrastructure and Logistics – Brussels and Luxembourg
Office of Infrastructure and Logistics (European Commission)
The Office of Infrastructure and Logistics is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The Office for Infrastructure and Logistics, Brussels and the Office of Infrastructure and Logistics, Luxembourg were created according to a Commission decision of November 6, 2002.-Office for...


DIGIT
Directorate-General for Informatics (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Informatics is a Directorate-General of the European Commission.The mission of the DG Informatics is to define the IT strategy of the Commission and to provide a modern and high-performance information technology and telecommunications infrastructure.The current...


Office for the Administration and Payment of Individual Entitlement
Human Resources and Security
  ELDR PotočnikJanez Potočnik
Janez Potocnik
Janez Potočnik is a Slovenian politician, currently serving as European Commissioner for Environment. He was formerly the Slovenia's Minister for European Affairs....

Environment Environment
Directorate-General for the Environment (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for the Environment is a Directorate-General of the European Commission, responsible for the European Union policy area of the environment....

  ELDR RehnOlli Rehn
Olli Rehn
Olli Ilmari Rehn is a Finnish politician, currently serving as European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs. He had previously served as Commissioner for Enlargement...

Economic and Monetary Affairs Economic and Financial Affairs
Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The DG ECFIN is located in Brussels, Belgium, and Luxembourg...

  EPP PiebalgsAndris Piebalgs
Andris Piebalgs
Andris Piebalgs is a Latvian politician and diplomat, currently serving as European Commissioner for Development at the European Commission. Between 2004 and 2010 he served as Commissioner for Energy.-Career:...

Development Development
EuropeAid Co-operation Office
EuropeAid Co-operation Office
The Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid Directorate General is one of the departments of the European Commission. EuropeAid operates under the authority of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs.- Background :...

  EPP BarnierMichel Barnier
Michel Barnier
Michel Barnier is a French politician of the Union for a Popular Movement and Vice President of the European People's Party . He is the current European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services...

Internal Market and Services Internal Market and Services
Directorate-General for Internal Market and Services (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Internal Market and Services is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The main role of the DG Internal Market and Services is to coordinate the European Commission’s policy on the European Single Market, which aims to ensure the free movement of people,...


Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market
Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market
The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market , or OHIM is the trademark and designs registry for the internal market of the European Union. It is based in Alicante, Spain, and its president is António Campinos.- Task :...

  ELDR VassiliouAndroulla Vassiliou
Androulla Vassiliou
Androulla Vassiliou is a Cypriot and European politician who was the European Commissioner for Health, confirmed by the European Council on 3 March 2008...

Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Education and Culture
Directorate-General for Education and Culture (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Education and Culture is a Directorate-General of the European Commission.The Education and Culture Directorate-General’s mission has three main aspects:* Building a Europe of knowledge...


Interpretation
Directorate-General for Interpretation (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Interpretation is a Directorate-General of the European Commission...


Translation
Directorate-General for Translation (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Translation , located in Brussels and Luxembourg, provides translation of written text into and out of the European Union's twenty-three official languages. With an annual output of about 1.5 million pages, it is the largest translation service in the world, employing...

  EPP SemetaAlgirdas Šemeta
Algirdas Šemeta
Algirdas Gediminas Šemeta is a Lithuanian economist and the European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud. He has held this post since July 2009....

Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud
European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud
The Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud is the member of the European Commission. The current commissioner is Algirdas Šemeta. The post was previously divided prior to 2010, with audit being under control of the Commissioner for Administrative Affairs.The post is...

Taxation and Customs Union
Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The DG Taxation and Customs manages, defends and develops the customs union as a vital part of protecting the external borders of the European Union...


Internal Audit Service
Internal Audit Service (European Commission)
The Internal Audit Service or IAS is a Directorate-General of the European Commission.The mission of the IAS is to:* issue independent audit opinions on the quality of management and internal control systems...


European Anti-fraud Office
Budget
Directorate-General for Budget (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Budget is a Directorate-General of the European Commission.The task of the Directorate-General for Budget is to secure from the budgetary authority - the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union - the resources needed to implement the European Union's...

  ELDR GuchtKarel De Gucht
Karel De Gucht
Karel Lodewijk Georgette Emmerence De Gucht is a Belgian politician who has been the European Commissioner for Trade since 2010...

Trade
European Commissioner for Trade
The European Commissioner for Trade is the member of the European Commission responsible for the European Union's common commercial policy...

Trade
Directorate-General for Trade (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Trade is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. DG Trade works on securing prosperity, solidarity and security in Europe and around the globe...

  EPP DalliJohn Dalli
John Dalli
John Dalli is the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy and a former Maltese politician who served as Cabinet Minister in various Maltese governments between 1987 and 2010.-Maltese politics:...

Health and Consumer Policy
European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy
The Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy is the member of the European Commission. The current Commissioner John Dalli. The portfolio is responsible for matters of public health, food safety, animal health, welfare and consumer affairs.-Kyprianou:...

Health and Consumers
Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Health and Consumers , formerly Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection and often abbreviated as "SANCO" or "DG-SANCO" for the French words Santé & Consommateurs , is a Directorate-General of the European Commission...

  ELDR Geoghegan-QuinnMáire Geoghegan-Quinn
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn is an Irish politician, and is the current European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. She previously served as a Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for the Galway West constituency from 1975 to 1997...

Research, Innovation and Science Research
Directorate-General for Research (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Research or DG Research, located in Brussels, is a Directorate-General of the European Commission.- Mission :The Directorate General’s mission is evolving as work on the European Research Area continues...


Joint Research Centre
  EPP LewandowskiJanusz Lewandowski
Janusz Lewandowski
Janusz Antoni Lewandowski is a Polish politician and economist belonging to the Gdansk liberals group, and a member of the Europea n Parliament , Chairman of the Committee on Budgets...

Financial Programming and the Budget Budget
Directorate-General for Budget (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Budget is a Directorate-General of the European Commission.The task of the Directorate-General for Budget is to secure from the budgetary authority - the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union - the resources needed to implement the European Union's...

  PES DamanakiMaria Damanaki
Maria Damanaki
Maria Damanaki is a Greek politician, former president of the Synaspismos party of the radical left and currently a state member of the Hellenic Parliament within the Panhellenic Socialist Movement ....

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
  EPP GeorgievaKristalina Georgieva
Kristalina Georgieva
Kristalina Ivanova Georgieva is a Bulgarian economist and politician, currently serving as European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response in the second college of the Barroso Commission....

International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Humanitarian Aid
ECHO (European Commission)
The Humanitarian Aid department of the European Commission , formerly known as the European Community Humanitarian Aid Office, is the European Commission's department for overseas humanitarian aid...

  EPP OettingerGünther Oettinger
Günther Oettinger
Günther Hermann Oettinger is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union . He became European Commissioner for Energy in the European Commission on 10 February 2010 and is affiliated with the European People's Party...

Energy
European Commissioner for Energy
The Commissioner for Energy is a member of the European Commission. The current Commissioner is Günther Oettinger .-Responsibilities:The Commissioner holds responsibility for the European Union's energy policy as well as nuclear issues . It was previously a backwater in the Commission but has now...

Energy
Directorate-General for Energy (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Energy , also internally the abbreviation ENER is used, is a Directorate-General of the European Commission...

  EPP HahnJohannes Hahn
Johannes Hahn
Johannes Hahn, born on the 2 December 1957, is an Austrian politician and that country's member of the second Barroso Commission. He replaced as Austria's representative Benita Ferrero-Waldner. Hahn is a member of the Österreichische Volkspartei and the European People's Party...

Regional Policy
European Commissioner for Regional Policy
The Commissioner for Regional Policy is a portfolio within the European Commission. The current Commissioner is Johannes Hahn.The portfolio is responsible for managing the regional policy of the European Union, such as the European Regional Development Fund, which takes up a third of the EU's...

Regional Policy
Directorate-General for Regional Policy (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Regional Policy is a Directorate-General of the European Commission.The DG Regional Policy is responsible for European Union measures to assist the economic and social development of the less-favoured regions of the European Union under Articles 158 and 160 of the Treaty...

  EPP HedegaardConnie Hedegaard
Connie Hedegaard
Connie Hedegaard is a Danish politician and public intellectual who has been European Commissioner for Climate Action in the European Commission since 10 February 2010....

Climate Action Climate Action
Directorate-General for the Environment (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for the Environment is a Directorate-General of the European Commission, responsible for the European Union policy area of the environment....

  PES FüleŠtefan Füle
Štefan Füle
Štefan Füle is a Czech politician and diplomat, since 2009 European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy in the second Barroso Commission.- Early life :...

Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Enlargement
Directorate-General for Enlargement (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Enlargement is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The DG Enlargement is responsible for the enlargement process of the European Union...


External Relations
Directorate-General for External Relations (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for the External Relations was a Directorate-General of the European Commission, responsible for the external policy...

  PES AndorLászló Andor
László Andor
László Andor is a Hungarian economist. He is Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion in the Barroso II administration of the European Commission...

Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities has the task of contributing to the development of a modern, innovative and sustainable...

  ELDR MalmströmCecilia Malmström
Cecilia Malmström
Anna Cecilia Malmström is a Swedish politician currently serving as European Commissioner for Home Affairs in the Barroso Commission...

Home Affairs Home Affairs
  Ind. CioloşDacian Cioloş
Dacian Cioloş
Dacian Cioloş is a Romanian engineer and politician. In the Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu cabinet, he was Agriculture Minister from October 2007 to December 2008...

Agriculture and Rural Development Agriculture and Rural Development
Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development
The Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development or DG AGRI is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The DG AGRI is responsible for the European Union policy area of agriculture and rural development...

This list is partially incomplete

Civil service


A Commissioner can come under a great deal of influence from the staff under their control. The European Civil Service
European Civil Service
The European Civil Service is the civil service serving the institutions of the European Union, of which the largest employer is the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union...

 is permanent whereas a Commissioner is in office usually for just five years. Hence it is the service which know the workings of the Commission and have longer term interests. Strong leadership from a Commissioner, who knows the workings of their portfolio, can overcome the power of the service. An example would be Pascal Lamy
Pascal Lamy
Pascal Lamy is the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, a French political advisor, a businessman, and a former European Commissioner for Trade...

, however the best people are usually kept by their national governments leading to less solid candidates getting the job.

Politicisation



Commissioners are also required to remain above national politics while exercising their duties in the Commission in order to maintain independence. However that requirement has slowly been eroded as the institution has become more politicised. During the Prodi Commission
Prodi Commission
The Prodi Commission was the European Commission in office between 1999 and 2004. The administration was led by former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi.-History:...

, Anna Diamantopoulou
Anna Diamantopoulou
Anna Diamantopoulou , is a Member of Parliament in Greece for the party of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement and the current Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs in Greece...

 (Employment and Social Affairs
European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs & Equal Opportunities
The Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion is the member of the European Commission. The current commissioner is László Andor....

) took leave from the Commission to participate in the 2004 Greek elections
Greek legislative election, 2004
Legislative elections were held in Greece on March 7, 2004. At stake were 300 seats in the Greek Parliament, the Vouli . The New Democracy Party of Kostas Karamanlis won a decisive victory in the elections, ending eleven years of rule by the Panhellenic Socialist Movement .PASOK was led into the...

 and resigned when she won a seat despite her party losing. Romano Prodi
Romano Prodi
Romano Prodi is an Italian politician and statesman. He served as the Prime Minister of Italy, from 17 May 1996 to 21 October 1998 and from 17 May 2006 to 8 May 2008...

 campaigned in the 2001 Italian elections
Italian general election, 2001
A national general election was held in Italy on May 13, 2001 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic. The 14th Parliament of the Italian republic was chosen....

 while still President.

Recently, Louis Michel
Louis Michel
Louis H. O. Ch. Michel is a Belgian politician. He served in the government of Belgium as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1999 to 2004 and was European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid from 2004 to 2009. Since 2009, he has been a Member of the European Parliament...

 (Development & Humanitarian Aid
European Commissioner for Development & Humanitarian Aid
The Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response is a member of the European Commission. The post is currently held by Kristalina Georgieva....

) announced that he would go on unpaid leave to take part in the 2007 Belgian elections
Belgian general election, 2007
The 2007 Belgian general election took place on Sunday 10 June 2007. Voters went to the polls in order to elect new members for the Chamber of Representatives and Senate.Eligible voters were Belgian citizens 18 years and older...

. Although he positioned himself so as not to be elected, the European Parliament's development committee
Committee on Development
The Committee on Development is a standing committee of the European Parliament responsible for promoting, implementing and monitoring the development and cooperation policy of the European Union, notably talks with developing countries; aid to developing countries; and promotion of democratic...

 asked the Parliament's legal service to assess if his participation violated the treaties
Treaties of the European Union
The Treaties of the European Union are a set of international treaties between the European Union member states which sets out the EU's constitutional basis. They establish the various EU institutions together with their remit, procedures and objectives...

. Michel claimed that politicisation of this manner is part of reconnecting the Union with its citizens. The Commission revised its code of conduct for Commissioners allowing them to "be active members of political parties or trade unions." To participate in an election campaign they are required to "withdraw from the work of the Commission for the duration of the campaign."

This does throw their independence in doubt, where a politician leaves their national scene for one or two terms and returns to it for a new job. Most in essence owe their positions to nomination and support from national party leaders and parties they have been aligned to; usually seeking to return to the party-political fray.

Politicisation has even gone so far as commissioners backing national candidates, with Neelie Kroes
Neelie Kroes
Neelie Kroes is a Dutch politician of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy . She served as a Member of the House of Representatives from 3 August 1971 until 28 December 1977 when she became State Secretary for Transport, Public Works and Water Management from 28 December 1977 until 11...

 (Competition) backing Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel
Angela Dorothea Merkel is the current Chancellor of Germany . Merkel, elected to the Bundestag from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, has been the chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union since 2000, and chairwoman of the CDU-CSU parliamentary coalition from 2002 to 2005.From 2005 to 2009 she led a...

 in the 2005 German elections
German federal election, 2005
German federal elections took place on 18 September 2005 to elect the members of the 16th German Bundestag, the federal parliament of Germany. They became necessary after a motion of confidence in Chancellor Gerhard Schröder failed on 1 July...

 and Margot Wallström
Margot Wallström
Margot Elisabeth Wallström is a Swedish social democratic, currently holding the job as . Prior to this post, she served as European Commissioner for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy...

 (Institutional Relations & Communication Strategy) backing Ségolène Royal
Ségolène Royal
Marie-Ségolène Royal , known as Ségolène Royal, is a French politician. She is the president of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council, a former member of the National Assembly, a former government minister, and a prominent member of the French Socialist Party...

 in the 2007 French elections
French presidential election, 2007
The 2007 French presidential election, the ninth of the Fifth French Republic was held to elect the successor to Jacques Chirac as president of France for a five-year term.The winner, decided on 5 and 6 May 2007, was Nicolas Sarkozy...

. Wallström defended this claiming that the EU has to get more political and controversial as being a vital role in communicating the Commission. Wallström has been notable for engaging in debate and politics, she was the first commissioner to start her own blog.

However their political nature can also cause problems in their habit of leaving the job early in the final years of the Commission to take up new national posts. In seeking to secure their post-Commission job, they can undermine the work of the Commission. Following elections in Cyprus, Commissioner Kyprianou left to become Cypriot Foreign Minister. Likewise, Commissioner Frattini left to do the same following elections in Italy. During the previous Prodi Commission
Prodi Commission
The Prodi Commission was the European Commission in office between 1999 and 2004. The administration was led by former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi.-History:...

, Pedro Solbes
Pedro Solbes
Pedro Solbes Mira is a Spanish economist. While independent in the sense of not affiliated to any party, his various ministerial roles in Spain have always been within Socialist Workers' Party cabinets...

 left to become the Spanish finance minister, Michel Barnier
Michel Barnier
Michel Barnier is a French politician of the Union for a Popular Movement and Vice President of the European People's Party . He is the current European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services...

 left to become French foreign minister, Erkki Liikanen
Erkki Liikanen
Erkki Liikanen is a Finnish social democratic politician and the Governor of the Bank of Finland.-Career:...

 left to become head of a Helsinki bank and Anna Diamantopoulou
Anna Diamantopoulou
Anna Diamantopoulou , is a Member of Parliament in Greece for the party of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement and the current Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs in Greece...

 also resigned early. Even President Prodi started campaigning in the Italian elections before his term as head of the Commission was over.

Appointment to the Commission has the effect of removing a political figure from a country for a period of years, and this has been compared to the ancient Athenian
Athenian democracy
Athenian democracy developed in the Greek city-state of Athens, comprising the central city-state of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, around 508 BC. Athens is one of the first known democracies. Other Greek cities set up democracies, and even though most followed an Athenian model,...

 practice of ostracism.

See also


  • Barroso Commission
    Barroso Commission
    The Barroso Commission is the European Commission that has been in office since 22 November 2004 and is due to serve until 2014. Its president is José Manuel Barroso, who presides over 26 other commissioners...

     (the current commission)
  • List of European Commissioners by nationality

:Category:European Commissioners
  • Vice-President of the European Commission
    Vice-President of the European Commission
    A Vice President of the European Commission is a post in the European Commission usually occupied by more than one member of the Commission. Since the 2009 Lisbon Treaty entered into force, one of these is ex-officio the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,...


External links