The European Commission
The European Commission
The European Commission has four main roles:
· To propose new policies for the EU, especially new proposals for EU legislation
· To manage and implement EU policies including the EU budget
· To enforce EU law alongside the European court
· To Represent the EU in international negotiations – although it is unclear presently to what extent this latter role will be increasingly taken by the European External Acton Service when it has been fully established.
The Commission is comprised of the College of Commissioners – one from each of the 27 Member States, and the Commission services which is the EU civil service responsible for administration of the Commissions duties.
The Commission has a President, Manuel Barrroso, who selects the dossiers each Commissioner will be responsible for and can redistribute these dossiers during the five year mandate of the Commission if necessary (for example if a Commissioner leaves their post being replaced by a new person from their Member State with different experiences and interests requiring a “reshuffling of responsibilities within the college).
The Commission President is nominated by the European Council and approved by the European Parliament. Additionally each of the nominated Commissioners have a hearing in front of the relevant Committee in the European Parliament before the new Commission can be approved by the European Parliament in its entirety. In the past to prevent the Commission as a whole failing to be approved by this vote, some nominees have stepped down following poor performance in their hearing.
The "Barroso II Commission" has past this selection process at the start of 2010 and will serve a five year mandate. Members include:
The High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy and one of the seven Vice Presidents from the UK - Catherine Ashton
Development Cooperation Commissioner from Latvia - Andris Piebalgs
International Trade Commissioner the Belgian - Karel de Gucht
International Cooperation and Humanitarian assistance the Bulgarian Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva
Health the Maltese Commmissioner John Dalli
Economic and Finance the Finnish Commissioner Olli Rehn
The Commissioners meet on a weekly basis – normally on Wednesday morning to collectively adopt positions, initiatives and policies of the Commission. The discussions are Chaired by the President of the Commission Manuel Barroso (or one of the Vice Presidents in his absence) and each topic is facilitated with a presentation by the Commissioner with responsibility for the specific topic under review.
Only following adoption by the college of the Commission can any policy be considered a position of the European Commission. Each of the Commissioners has a team to aid them and allow them to follow all of the topics discussed by the Commission in addition to the topic they are responsible for. This team is called their Cabinet and each Commissioner appoints their own team. It is now normal practice for each of the Commissioners to give details of their cabinet on their own web site and so finding who in each cabinet has responsibility for relevant dossiers is more transparent than has been the case in the past.
The Commission Services
The administration of the duties of the Commission is undertaken by the services of the European Commission, comprised of civil servants from all of the 27 Member States of the EU. These services of the Commission are organised into Directorate Generals with specific policy responsibilities – a division that is made by the European Commission President.
The more relevant services for Global Health currently are:
· DG SANCO (Health and Consumers)
· DG ECHO (Humanitarian Assistance)
· DG RTD (Research)
· DG Trade
Finding individuals with responsibilities for certain policy areas in any of the Directorate Generals is possible by using the “Who is Who” service on the Europa server.