The European Commission is the EU's politically independent executive arm. It is alone responsible for drawing up proposals for new European legislation, and it implements the decisions of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.
The Commission is the sole EU institution tabling laws for adoption by the Parliament and the Council that:
Infographic: ABC of the EU institutions
The College of Commissioners, includes the President of the Commission, his seven Vice-Presidents, including the First Vice-President, and the High-Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy and 20 Commissioners in charge of portfolios.
The day-to-day running of Commission business is performed by its staff (lawyers, economists, etc.), organised into departments known as Directorates-General (DGs), each responsible for a specific policy area.
The candidate is put forward by national leaders in the European Council, taking account of the results of the European Parliament elections. He or she needs the support of a majority of members of the European Parliament in order to be elected.
The Presidential candidate selects potential Vice-Presidents and Commissioners based on suggestions from the EU countries. The list of nominees has to be approved by national leaders in the European Council.
Each nominee appears before the European Parliament to explain their vision and answer questions. Parliament then votes on whether to accept the nominees as a team. Finally, they are appointed by the European Council, by a qualified majority.
The current Commission's term of office runs until 31 October 2019.
The President defines the policy direction for the Commission, which enables the Commissioners together to decide strategic objectives, and produce the annual work programme.
Decisions are taken based on collective responsibility. All Commissioners are equal in the decision-making process and equally accountable for these decisions. They do not have any individual decision-making powers, except when authorized in certain situations.
The Vice-Presidents act on behalf of the President and coordinate work in their area of responsibility, together with several Commissioners. Priority projects are defined to help ensure that the College works together in a close and flexible manner.
Commissioners support Vice-Presidents in submitting proposals to the College. In general, decisions are made by consensus, but votes can also take place. In this case, decisions are taken by simple majority, where every Commissioner has one vote.
These are then resubmitted to the Commissioners for adoption at their weekly meeting, after which they become official, and are sent to the Council and the Parliament for the next stage in the EU legislative process.
If you want to give us your views on EU policies or suggest changes or new policies, you have various options:
The Commission also provides advice & information services to help you with business, study, legal matters, and moving and working around Europe.
For any questions you have about our work:
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