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European Commission - Press release

Juncker Commission takes oath of independence at the European Court of Justice

Luxembourg, 10 December 2014

President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Members of the College of Commissioners are taking their formal oath of office today in Luxembourg, at the Court of Justice of the EU. With this “solemn undertaking”, the members of the Commission are pledging to respect the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, to carry out their responsibilities in complete independence and in the general interest of the Union. Commissioners will also promise not to seek or take instructions from any authorities, to refrain from engaging in actions incompatible with their duties and performance of their tasks, and to respect their obligations during and after their term of office.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said today: "The oath we take today is a serious one - it is an oath of independence and of respect of our Charter of Fundamental Rights. This is a strong political commitment from the whole College to ensure that the Charter is respected and complied with in all EU policies for which the Commission is responsible. This is no trifling matter - we are nothing if not for our values."

Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, Commissioners also pledge to respect the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as part of the oath of office.

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans explained: "The Commission is sworn to serve the European interest, that is to make a difference for citizens. That is why we will focus on the big priorities – growth, jobs and investment. And by checking that every one of our proposals matches up to the standards of the Charter, we will carry forward the real fundamental rights culture which has developed in the EU, not to replace but to complement national systems of fundamental rights."

Background:

The requirement for European Commission members to ‘give a solemn undertaking’ when entering into office is a long standing tradition which can today be found in Article 245 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. This provision was included for the first time in the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (1957) and has been applied for every single Commission that took office from that date onwards. With every new Treaty, the wording of the solemn undertaking was slightly adapted to the new legal situation. Since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon (2009), the text also includes a reference to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The responsibilities and duties of Commission members are laid down in Art. 17 of the Treaty on European Union and Art. 245 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Traditionally, this solemn undertaking is made before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in the first months after the start of the mandate of a new European Commission.

The swearing of the oath will take place between 15:30 and 17:30 CET and will be broadcast live on Europe by Satellite.


Annex:

 

SOLEMN UNDERTAKING

given before the

COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

 

pursuant to Article 17 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 245 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.


Having been appointed as a Member of the European Commission by the European Council, following the vote of consent by the European Parliament

I solemnly undertake:

-   to respect the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in the fulfilment of all my duties;

-   to be completely independent in carrying out my responsibilities, in the general interest of the Union;

-   in the performance of my tasks, neither to seek nor to take instructions from any Government or from any other institution, body, office or entity;

-   to refrain from any action incompatible with my duties or the performance of my tasks.

I formally note the obligation laid down under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, by virtue of which each Member State is to respect this principle and is not to seek to influence Members of the Commission in the performance of their tasks.

I further undertake to respect, both during and after my term of office, the obligations arising therefrom, and in particular the duty to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance, after I have ceased to hold office, of certain appointments or benefits.

 

For more information:

Follow President @JunckerEU and Vice-President @TimmermansEU on Twitter.

Twitter hashtags: #transparency #independence #teamJunckerEU

IP/14/2511

Press contacts

Tim McPHIE (+ 32 2 295 86 02)
Natasha BERTAUD (+32 2 296 74 56)
Mina ANDREEVA (+32 2 299 13 82)

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