Talk:European Commission

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The article needs to be updated. In at least 2 places it talks about the Baroso Commission as being a caretaker commission. It was, but it isn't.


The Berlaymont building is really difficult to reduce to a photographically aesthetic composition. Someone should also take a photograph of the sign where it says 'CONSILIUM'; I think it is across the road from the Berlaymont building. -- Kaihsu 20:45, 2004 Jun 29 (UTC)

In Belgium, works of architecture are protected by copyright, which subsists for 70 years after the death of the architect(s). It is an infringement of copyright to take a photograph or make a film or drawing of an architectural work, and legally actionable to publish it. Unlike in many other countries, photographs of architectural work as part of a panorama or cityscape are not exempt from this rule.

The Société d’Auteurs Belge – Belgische Auteurs Maatschappij or SABAM represents the interests of and collects royalties for its members, among whom are architects. SABAM monitors the Internet to look for photos in breach of copyright.

Legislative initiative[edit]

The article had stated that the European Parliament could mandate that the Commission initiate legislation. Its power is nowhere near this strong.

[A]lthough the Parliament enjoys no power of legislative initiative, it has the right under Article 192 (ex Article 138b) to request the Commission to submit a proposal on any matter on which the Parliament thinks a Community act is necessary. While the Treaty imposes no express obligation on the Commission to respond or to provide reasons for rejecting a request, ...the Commission committed itself to undertake "a prompt and sufficently detailed response" to Article 192 requests.

EU Law: Text, Cases, and Materials by Paul Craig and Grainne de Burca, p. 81 (emphasis added). Postdlf 05:43, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I don't know if "mandate" is the correct term, but essentially the parliament has de facto powers of legislative initiative because in practice the Commission finds it very damaging politically to ignore a request. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 16:02, 9 February 2007 (UTC).


Roughly how big is the Commission? (in terms of staffing and budget administered) - I couldn't find this in the time available - grateful if someone could add. --Cjnm 16:18, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

'Abuses' of power[edit]

I've just snipped this controversial addition - perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me could give it a more NPOV gloss or decide whether it's better off elsewhere? Strikes me that a discussion of the Commission's actions in a technical part of particular policy area doesn't belong on a general introductory page about the Commission! Wombat 16:39, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)

At the end of 2004 and at the beginning of 2005 EC has twice put software patents in the agriculture-ministers meeting agendas as a-item. This was an abuse of the system because the item was known to be controversial. The EC decided to follow a pro-patents lobby suggestion even after it has been notified that the new parliament has new objections to the proposition. Furthermore, although the rules demand that a-item be put in agenda two weeks in advance, it was done less than a week before meeting.

Well, it is not merely a small technical problem - this is defining of the whole area of patentability of ideas, with consequences far beyond programming. Besides it seems to be a part of power struggle between different parts of EU administration. As far as I can understand EC has all the formal tools to behave as it does, however, it also explicitly ignores requests of EP and national governments' voices about controversy. The EC behaves as if it was trying to force its version of the directive although it is known to be far from perfect. Almost all of the changes suggested by EP after first reading were reversed, to the state where the directive is pleasing for the pro-patent lobby only. While I understand that large corporations are big tax-payers, they are not the only part of the society the EU is supposed to be. When somebody uses the power they were given in a way that is harming to the society that has granted that power, then I would say it is an abuse. That is why I thought it is relevant for the general page about EC (are there any other pages on EC yet?) --matusz 13:34, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
OK. I wasn't suggesting for a minute that this is an unimportant issue or a 'technicality'. My only query was about whether it belongs on a general page about the Commission. From the explanation above, I think it would be better on a page about the software patent debate, or patentability of ideas, or whatever. I mean, there are countless examples of various lobby groups complaining that various governments and authorities have acted incorrectly or abused their power - but we don't add them to the main pages of the authorities, we add them to the pages on the debate in question. Wombat 15:01, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Probably should be on European Directive on Software Patents, not here, but maybe with a link in see also or sthg here. I supposed the directive page could be linked to with mention that it has caused controversy over how much power the EC should have (cf. with the member states and parliament) and what is considere by many to be a power struggle. Seems to be NPOV to me except it should say that `some believe it is an abuse of the system' or `some MEPs...' (since a lot of MEPs having being complaining about `abuse of the system'). The rest is factually accurate and can be checked from independent sources.
--Joe Llywelyn Griffith Blakesley talk contrib

political leanings of the commissioners[edit]

I think it would be useful if we could somehow list the political leanings of each of the commissioners from both the past and the present. This would be a summary that is unlikely to be present in any other references. We already do this very subtly (with colours) in the article President of the European Commission. Cheers. – Kaihsu 13:18, 2005 Apr 3 (UTC)

Very subtle but I like the idea. The best place to do this is proberbly on each commission page such as Barroso Commission. This page (European Commission) needs links to the various commission pages too (do we still need to keep the current members on this page?). Final point - we should add a key! I'll see what I can do. Andreww 03:36, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)
It would be nice if you could do it. Cheers. – Kaihsu 08:48, 2005 May 3 (UTC)
I have had a go for the Barroso Commission and sugest we discuss the it there before moving on to the other pages. Andreww 09:56, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

Right of initiative under the constitution[edit]

Will European Parliament and Council of European Union obtain the right of initiative ,beside European Commission, according to the new European Constitution ?

No. The Commission retains sole right of initiative, i.e. it alone has the job of drafting proposals for Parliament and Council to consider. The constitution does give Parliament, Council and citizens the right to request a proposal to be drafted, and in some limited cases Council and Parliament may act on their own initiative, but not to draft legislation. See this article for more information. (By the way, please sign your talk comments with ~~~~.) Wombat 09:21, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Text removed for NPOVing[edit]

I just reverted the following addition by Mortypsmith. This contains some useful information but it needs couching in NPOV terms, something that I don't have time to do right now. Here's the text:

In the wake of the abandonment of the proposed European Constitution following the French and Dutch "no" votes, there has been controversy over the Commission's attempts to continue with several initiatives for which only the Constitution would have provided a legal basis. These include the European Defence Agency, the External Borders Agency, the Human Rights Institute, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the European Public Prosecutor, politico-military structures, a collective security clause, a diplomatic service and even a space policy.
Furthermore, the Commission has been criticised over the European Political Parties Directive, which seeks to provide state funding for Europe-wide political parties. It has been seen as an attempt to put Eurosceptic parties (which would not meet the funding criteria) at a huge financial disadvantage. This is in addition to a huge amount already spent by the Commission (and other EU bodies) on pro-federalist propaganda, much of it in the form of classroom materials directed at children.

Others may want to rejig some of this and re-add it - or I might have a go at the weekend. Wombat 13:56, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

Discussion of specific legislative proposals[edit]

Following discussion, some of the above text has been reinstated. However, I have left this text out:

The Commission has also been criticised over the European Political Parties Directive, which seeks to provide state funding for Europe-wide political parties. This has been seen by some as an attempt to put Eurosceptic parties (which would not meet the funding criteria) at a huge financial disadvantage [1]. 25 Members of the European Parliament petitioned the European Court, arguing that this directive contravened the EU's stated values of pluralism and democracy, only to have the case thrown out on a technicality after 18 months [2].

The Commission is the body which drafts nearly all proposals for EU legislation. If we allow this article to include a paragraph of criticism on every single legislative proposal that comes out of the Commission, it will become a very long page indeed! (By analogy, we don't include criticisms of every white paper on the UK government page.) In any case, the text above is already included in a section under European Parliament#Political groups and parties, so I see no need to duplicate here. I suggest that where this text really belongs is on a new page called European Political Parties Directive, by analogy with Directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions, which includes a history and extensive criticism of the directive in question. But not here, on the main Commission page. What do others think? Wombat 08:38, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

My view - I would go with European Political Parties Directive if and only if: (i) there is enough info to make it more than a stub and (ii) this directive can be shown to be notable (more notable than all the other directives). An alternitive would be to have European Directives of 2005 (and 2006 etc.) and have it as a section in there. Directives that get enough info there could then end up with its own page. Andreww 09:06, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
As the person who originally posted the paragraph, I quite understand that the European Commission article can't include commentary on every directive the Commission proposes. However, I would say that this directive is particularly important as it influences not just a particular policy area but the democratic process itself, by putting at a financial disadvantage any parties which disagree with the Commission's right to impose legislation over the heads of national parliaments. I think it's important that this information is available to anyone reading about the Commission, not just people who already know about the directive and choose to look it up. As for the amount of information, I have provided links to two articles on the site of an MEP who petitoned the European Court to get this directive rescinded. If you like I could expand the original paragraph, but I assumed you would want it as succinct as possible! Mortypsmith 10:40, 24 October 2005

OK, I see the connection between this specific proposal and the Commission as a subject in its own right (though, as a side issue, a quick read through even this article is enough to disabuse one of the misconception that the Commission can "impose legislation"! ;o) ). I think the connection should be made more explicit, then. I'll have a go at doing that now. Wombat 08:34, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

...Right, I've done my thang. Mortypsmith and others, please feel free to tweak or adapt what's now there! Wombat 08:45, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

About Critics[edit]

I am not an expert in European legality but... there are euro-esceptic paries with broad-European dimension. So where is the problem? tell me if im wrong. Anyway, is this the place for such information? I mean, its like 20% of the article, I dont think other governmental institutions have such wikirelevance of their critics, well actually Im not sure, thats why i didnt change anything for myself--Darkmaiki 00:06, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

I just found this: Union for a Europe of Nations. And it is formed by a lot of national parties. --Darkmaiki 00:13, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes there certainly are euro-sceptic parties which recognise a common aim with similar parties in other countries and have joined with them in loose federations. However there are also some that haven't, and they should not be discriminated against. You may not agree with them but as Pastor Martin Niemoller pointed out during the last attempt to unite Europe, if you don't speak out when they come for the communists, the trade unionists and the Jews because you don't belong to these groups yourself, then there is no one left to speak out when they come for you.
As for why there should be so much criticism of a governmental institution in its Wikipedia article (does 20% strike you as a lot?), I guess that would be because Wikipedia is an independent and unbiased source of information, not a government shill. I'm afraid this sometimes involves telling truth to power, uncomfortable as that may be. Mortypsmith 12:05, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Criticism section: a couple of points[edit]

This relates in part to the above discussion, but just a couple of points about the criticism section, firstly it's not the common format for an encyclopedia article to have the criticism section appear before the purely descriptive sections such as in this case the responsibilities, the appointment procedure and the history sections. I can see no real reason why it appears as the second section and would advocate moving it further down.

Secondly, it presents a series of controversial arguments and doesn't mention the various counter-arguments (which in some of the issues mentioned are far more popular than the Eurosceptic arguments). If nobody objects I will add to this section some of the alternative theories such as those by Andrew Moravcsik and Giandomenico Majone (two of the heavyweights in the study of the European Union) which argue that the Commission is democratic. This is a hugely contentious debate and simply presenting one side is not suitable for an encyclopedia article as far as I'm concerned, were the article purely about the democratic deficit then this may be fair enough, but it raises questions about objectivity when this is done in a general/descriptive article such as this one. --blankfrackis 20:19, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

I sorted these two issues out, I didn't remove a great deal of content, but I attempted to make it more streamlined - if we listed every proposal which the Commission has been criticised for the article would be the longest on wikipedia (just as if you listed every proposal by any governing institution that has been criticised). If anyone objects then we can discuss it here. Blankfrackis 20:23, 8 February 2007 (UTC)


An anon editor challenges the accuaracy of the article, on the grounds that he doesn't see how the commission is "the executive". He has a point to some extent: "executive" is not a good word for what the Commission does. The USA has "the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary": the Executive in the US is Office of the President, who has a great deal of authority. The Commission has nothing like this authority: in European terms, it is a Civil Service, not a Government - but it is far stronger (at least in intercontinental negotiations) than is any national Civil Service. Insofar as the EU has a government, it is the European Council (of national government ministers). The European Parliament has substantially less powers than any national parliament. So it seems to me that the challenge has merit, but only because the word "executive" is the wrong one and is thus inaccurate. --Red King 22:24, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

The anon editor also writes cryptically "some of its functions are legistlative in nature". No, this is not really correct. Yes, it drafts the laws (Directives) but so does any civil service. It is entirely up to the Council and the Parliament whether these are passed into law, amended and passed, or sent back for reworking. So in no sense is it a legistlature. --Red King 22:32, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure. This is another one of those unique annoyances about the EU, a different word would be good though I think executive can be applied in the absence of one. For those matters that fall within EU competence it does control, it carries out day-to-day running of things. For example when it comes to agencies or policies, or meeting with foreign leaders or ambassadors - I do not think any word relating to legislature or civil service can define the Commissions role in any greater way than executive.
I am for the use of the word executive, though it should be clarified in greater detail when outlining the Commission's powers. Perhaps we should call it an executive in conjunction with the European Council? The Council alone cannot be called one but it does have the remaining powers that would make the word executive far more applicable to the Commission. If we use the same wording as the Parliament (together with the... it forms the... branch of the EU). -JLogan 13:29, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
Oh and looking at the news, -I know this doesn't mean it is so, but it helps- the media certainly sees it in "executive" terms; "The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union." [3] "The European Commission is the executive branch of the EU while the EU Council represents the 25 EU governments." [4] "The European Commission is the executive arm of the European Union." [5]. -JLogan 21:14, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
Nice to see that we are not the only ones struggling with this! I think the big problem is the US elephant in the corner of the room: US readers in particular will read the word "executive" according to the US Constitution and we really need to give them some warning that they have the wrong idea. We can't even use "Administration"! --Red King 23:51, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm removing the Accuracy tag: it seems to me to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding. The tagger hasn't bothered to make his case or engage in the argument. --Red King 23:51, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

And we have a mirror discussion at the top of the page, I've moved it down here, below. I think people are generally on the side of using the term executive, but its different powers should be defined at the start of the responsibilities section (perhaps responsibilities and powers section would be better?) -JLogan 10:21, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
I really don't know about using the word "Executive" this implies government in most countries - that the Commissioners are akin to cabinet ministers, that the President of the Commission acts as the President of the European Union etc. That would be incredibly misleading. Aside from that, the problem is that the decision making procedures are entirely different depending on the issue, in some areas (foreign policy co-operation for instance) the Commission has an incredibly limited role and if you were to highlight an executive in that context you would say it was the European Council. The European Council is also responsible for general agenda setting and the treaty process. In fact in the areas of foreign policy and internal security the Commission often has no explicit role at all.
I think personally, I would opt for an escape clause by stating that "in some areas it performs an Executive function" rather than calling it the "Executive of the European Union" outright. If anyone is in any doubt about this being a significant issue there is an overview of the debate in "Formation, Life and Responsibility of the European Executive" by Jean Blondel (available online somewhere I'm sure). Blankfrackis 23:02, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
We have details on its exact powers. And I think it can, and should be compared with a government, with the President as the PM and Commissioners and Ministers. It does have that role and by stating executive will help people understand the Commission better - as it is a very confusing entity for many. In fact if it wasn't it's treaty name I'd be against using the word Commission, because it is nothing like what most people would call a Commission, closer to an executive than anything else. If others still find it is a problem, we could state that it is the executive of the European Communities, for the communities is it's official title and it is the executive over the supranational first pillar element. Then we expand that it has "executive functions" over the rest as well? -JLogan 11:28, 18 May 2007 (UTC)


A Question: Is the European Commission the "Government" of the European Union, and if so, why?


An Answer : No, it's a lot more like a Civil Service. --Red King 23:34, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
Another Answer: Yes, it is the "Government" (Don't worry, I won't rant on it again) - J Logan t/c: 08:36, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

"The particulars of the enlargement is prior discussed with the Amsterdam Treaty? and last wroted in the Nice Treaty." What does this mean? Rmhermen 21:30, Dec 27, 2003 (UTC)

"The European Commission (formally the Commission of the European Communities) is the executive of the European Union."

Shouldn't this be "the executive branch"? -- Itai 00:26, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Don't think so. "Executive branch" is a rather American term, isn't it?john 00:33, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I honestly don't know. Anyway, I'm willing to take your word for it. -- Itai 00:41, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Well, I'm reading a book on the EU at the moment, and it basically uses "executive". john

"Executive" it is, then. :-) Isn't frequent checking of one's watchlist fun? Gives a chat-like gloss to the all affair. -- Itai 01:09, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)


I think we can develop information on Commissioners enough for there to be a separate page on it, like there are for other such positions. That way we can just have the essential information on the EC page rather than the details that not necessarily have a huge impact on the working of it. Could perhaps add to it details on the nature and history of the portfolios? I think it's an area that will certainly expand. -JLogan 17:57, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

GA comments for possible improvement[edit]

Hello, I noticed this article is a GAN, so here's a few thoughts.

  1. Be consistent in placing the fullstops either before or after the citation (and the same applies to commas). At the moment it is inconsistent.
  2. "The current President is José Manuel Barroso, who leads the Barroso Commission who took office in 2004." -- I can't help but feel this sentence is a little weird, but I could be wrong.
  3. "aka, the "Midday Presser"" -- a little too informal
  4. "For example; executive, budget and representative functions as well as independence and collective responsibility" -- can be better written. Manderiko 12:57, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Basically I think this article has potential in terms of content, but I believe the GA reviewer may have issues with prose, and to some extent, need for citations. Manderiko 13:07, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Thanks! I'm starting to deal with it now, rewritten the areas you mentioned and I'm going through the prose slowly now. Thanks again! - J Logan t/c: 15:15, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Good Article nomination passed[edit]

GA review (see here for criteria)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    a (fair representation): b (all significant views):
  5. It is stable.
  6. It contains images, where possible, to illustrate the topic.
    a (tagged and captioned): b lack of images (does not in itself exclude GA): c (non-free images have fair use rationales):
  7. Overall:
    a Pass/Fail:

Reasons for verdict and suggestions:

  • The article is of a high standard, with my only criticism being certain parts of the prose. For example: "The former of these two bodies is generally considered...", by whom is it generally considered to be something? Also, the first paragraph in the College section is a bit awkward to follow, and there is a grammatical error half way through ("political influence, language proficiency (e.g. French), membership in the eurozone and within Schengen" - should have been "...(French) and membership in..."
  • On the whole, an excellent article; well referenced to reliable sources, is NPOV and each image has fair use rationale. I also felt as if I have learnt something today ! Keep up the good work and keep this article to the standards of a Good Article! Good work!

Mouse Nightshirt | talk 20:57, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Thanks! I'll get started on sorting that out now. - J Logan t/c: 21:10, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

general day-to-day running[edit]

This is a vacuous and unencyclopedic term. If it means anything, it is probably misleading. The commission surely deals with policy rather than quotidinal administration.

Both. What term to replace "general day-to-day running" that is equally understood and means the same thing? - J Logan t: 18:35, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
"running" though that begs further questions. Is the commission the EU's only administrative function? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:35, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

CARICOM now tied to the EU?[edit]

  • EU déjà vu in the Caribbean - Just as the European Union was sold to Europeans as a trade agreement even though it was actually a political union, so it has been sold again, this time to the islands of the Caribbean.

CaribDigita (talk) 21:47, 6 March 2009 (UTC)


I would like to bring an issue with this section to the attention of the readers of this discussion. I believe its correction would help this article achieve more nearly the ideals of Wikipedia, namely neutrality:

I am unsure of why the Criticisms section of this article has been deleted. I believe restoring said section would offer a more global and unbiased perspective for this article. The omission of this section yields this article crude and unsatisfactory as a professional source. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:54, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

It would appear that the section was renamed "Legitimacy" in July 2007.
See also: Wikipedia:Criticism. With this subject, there is probably some potential for such a section becoming a magnet for trolls. --Boson (talk) 06:31, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Exactly, Wikipedia articles try to avoid them and the sections themselves tend to become rapidly biased. It is best to disperse useful information from such sections so arguments throughout is balanced.- J.Logan`t: 22:21, 16 May 2009 (UTC)


Wow there! Firstly, that is the legislature infobox and it designed for the characteristics and nature of such institutions. Secondly, there isn't much call for government infboxes as they aren't easily comparable and there isn't much info to be seen at a glance (which is why there is very little data in that bix. Third, you can't say "federal government". You can compare it to governments but firstly it is too different to ram into the same bracket without clarification and 2nd, you have the same points with federal. Although partly accurate it implies full state federalism if you don't clarify it on the spot, which the infobox doesn't allow for. Lets take a step back and get an idea of what we need to show in government infoboxes and see if we can draw up a template to be applied to all, concentrating on their nature and that can reflect the Commission's nature?- J.Logan`t: 22:21, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Commission Appointment[edit]

This is another great article. I just wanted to check something before I change something minor it as this is an important page and i'm new!

In the summary section the President must be "approved" by the parliament and later the president is "officially elected" neither of which seemed to be quite right to me. I double checked my treaty and it says (Art214) that the Parliament must approve the nomination of the President. The parliament's power comes in later the process and it applies to the whole Commission, not just the President, or any other individual Commissioner for that matter: after member states have nominated the other 26 Commissioners (in agreement with the Presidential nominee) the whole Commission is put to the EP for a true vote.

Would anyone object to changes along these lines? Ajem (talk) 11:42, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Other Questions[edit]

Summary/Chapeau This refers to the College of Commissioners "as mentioned above", however, this is the first reference to the College. The next sentence implies that the 23000 officials are primarily based in the Berlaymont. This would avoid confusion if it were amended to the Commissioners are based in the B. Ajem (talk) 00:52, 27 May 2009 (UTC) Yes check.svg DoneAjem (talk) 23:50, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Legislative Initiative section The term "bill" should perhaps be 'legislative proposal".Ajem (talk) 00:52, 27 May 2009 (UTC) Yes check.svg DoneAjem (talk) 23:50, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

College - Political Styles section: "Furthermore, there has also been a greater degree of politicisation within the Commission, this being welcomed by Commissioner Wallström as necessary for citizens' engagement in European affairs.[50]" Footnote 50 doesn't support the assertion that Wallstrom (would) welcome this. I'm not desagreeing with the assertion, however this is a fairly strong assertion so if this is to stay it would be best for claim that Wallstrom welcomes this to be linked to a press release/speech etc (i couldn't find one) or be deleted.Ajem (talk) 00:52, 27 May 2009 (UTC) Yes check.svg DoneAjem (talk) 23:50, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Legitimacy section: 1st para, last sentence- Talks about Walstrom's plans for greater prominence of European political parties that could lead to the President to be elected via the EP. FN64 only links to an EU Observer article. The plans are now in force as far as I can see in the form of Reg 1524/2007 which amends reg 2003/2004. This seems to fall short of the expectations of the article and merely allows political groups to get financing etc, and it is a little misleading to say it could lead to the President being elected by the EP. I can't find any ref even in Walstrom's press release [1] when the Reg was proposed that this could lead to the EP electing the President. Can I suggest that we simply delete it as this amending Reg on political groups has very little to do with the Commission at all?Ajem (talk) 00:52, 27 May 2009 (UTC) Yes check.svg DoneAjem (talk) 23:50, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Sorry to use so much space. Before I made any changes I wanted some advice guidance. Ajem (talk) 11:42, 25 May 2009 (UTC)


Can anyone explain the point of "it is impossible for the Commission to be thrown out directly by the voters", following a statement that the European Commission is the executive branch. Apart from "thrown out", which seems somewhat unencyclopaedic, I don't see what is noteworthy about parliamentary system where the voters cannot dismiss the executive directly. On the whole, I think it would probably be best to delete the whole clause. --Boson (talk) 20:17, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

I've adjusted the line a bit to try to make it work. Not sure, what do you think.- J.Logan`t: 10:41, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
I think that's better stylistically, but I'm still not sure what the message is supposed to be. I think this is because there is an implied classification of the EU as something that it is not, or an implied comparison based on a particular form of government (e.g. a presidential system, as opposed to a parliamentary system). There is a reference to the Parliament, so presumably the statement is somehow meant to express that there is something less democratic about the EU compared with (other) parliamentary systems because the electorate cannot remove the executive directly. Is there any parliamentary system where the executive or its head can be removed by the electorate directy? In a parliamentary system it is normal that the parliament is directly elected, and the parliament can remove the executive (or the head of the executive); a few sentences later, it is stated that the European Parliament can do precisely this.
Although this is a different issue, it may be connected to the reason for the "democratic deficit", as recently discussed by the German Constitutional Court. As a sui generis system (supranational union?) the EU is still not a federal state but retains intergovernmental elements. In an intergovernmental system it is the states that are the main sources of legitimacy (so it is "democratic" if the states are fairly represented), while in a state it is the citizens that are the main sources of legitimacy(so it is democratic if the citizens are fairly represented). --Boson (talk) 06:46, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Well it does come under the heading 'legitimacy' and it is meant to highlight this situation. In equivalent executives the government as a whole can be thrown out through its parliamentary connection (which is developing) and individual members can be thrown out through their parliamentary seats (or, in presidential systems, via the President). In essence it is meant to be a nod to the democratic deficit argument without going too deep into it. I think it is a point worth making but if you with to change it or, if you aren't happy with any reformulation, remove it; I'll leave that up to you.- J.Logan`t: 08:40, 18 September 2009 (UTC)[edit]

Regarding these IP changes. From the first introduction I adjusted the relevant parts to fit in there or the European Commissioner article as, on the politicisation issue, that is dealt with in that article rather than this one. The last edit I am reverting due to introduction of data I moved to the Commissioner article, mess such as the doubling of a paragraph or that, for example on the issue of lobbying, you're talking about politics in general there so that is too much detail for this article and it would be misleading to imply that the Commission alone is affected by this. I suggest you add that data to articles on lobbying or representative democracy. Also, in other areas, it is general EU info such as control over competition, an issue covered on Commission-specific areas already.- J.Logan`t: 10:36, 17 September 2009 (UTC):


Thank you for correcting my doubling, I should have better supervised my contribution. Presentation of the Commission: Its policy is political ! About the independence of the European Commission and of the General Directions members, first of all I would like to refer you to “The Economist”, a British magazine you might know. It said recently that to preserve British interests in international Finance the new Economic & Financial Affairs commissioner should be British. Besides you probably know Michel BARNIER, who had been appointed as a European commissioner, years before, and got back to France where, he is for the time being Agriculture Minister, but might leave this function as he has been elected MEP. M any are thinking he might be the new French candidate for the European Commission. He is a member of the governing party in France (UMP). Lobbying (either public or private) is directed mainly to the European Commission and the General Directions as they need help to get the overall aspects of what they are dealing about, and that is quite normal, as long as they finally decide according to the general interests as they swore to do. Therefore it should be present in the European Commission article. Readers will not go to the Commissioner article to read about the EU institutions, so why send to a back street what should be on the main avenue for everybody to read ? If you know that the European Commission and the GDs are not alone to be subject to lobbying, why don’t you add something to explain it ? If you mean that by saying that the Commission President should freely choose his fellow commissioners and the EP should be able to censure the Commission policies, is talking about politics in general, then logically you should erase every reference to policies involved and first of all by the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty should the Irish vote “yes”. I presume that like me you are a supporter of a democratic European Union and expect the political and administrative personnel of the European institutions to deal the best they can to meet the European citizens needs. As a matter of fact that is what every democrat should wish: the will of the European citizens expressed through the European Parliament election to be taken into account for the welfare of the European citizens who know best what they wish or need. I am sure you will agree with me and leave what I feel relevant on the European Commission site. Thank you ! Henri PARATON-- (talk) 09:06, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

I have concerns about the content recently added by (talk · contribs · WHOIS). As well as needing some copy editing, some of the added content is obviously not neutral, and some is less obviously so. I am loth to revert without discussion.

The fact that the Commission President could be selected by the EP instead of the Council of Ministers is for sure a step to the right direction but it falls short of the choice by this President of his fellow ministers and the censure power of the Parliament over the politicies of the Commission, as it exists in every democratic state when Parliament deeply disagrees with the “government”.

Apart from the fact that EU is not (and is not intended to be) a democratic state, it is not up to Wikipedia to state as fact what is a step in the right direction.
The following is also stated as fact, which contradicts WP:NPOV:

One cannot dismiss that to promote « public interests » the Commission listens to many public and private lobbies. It is clear that private ones (multinational companies) may offer much better incentives than public ones, to orient decisions. They may also offer “ready to adopt legislation” thanks to their lawyers’ services

If it is a direct quote from the cited work, it should be set in quotation marks and be properly introduced.
The same applies to

One abiding complaint about (Commission) cabinets was that they intervened aggressively in personnel decisions, acting as lobbyists for national capitals in securing senior posts in the services.

I am not sure of he purpose of this:

As a matter of fact the Commission covers most of the legislative, executive,. .

but "as a matter of fact" is usually used to introduce an opposing point of view stated as fact.
Wikipedia must not state the following as fact:

European Commissioners are also partisan politicians: they have spent their careers in national party organizations, owe their positions to nomination and support from national party leaders, and usually seek to return to the party-political fray

If it is a quote from the cited work, this should be clearly indicated. If not, it is an unsubstantiated point of view. In view of the commissioners oath, it may even be regarded as defamatory as phrased.
That was just a sample. --Boson (talk) 19:38, 21 September 2009 (UTC):

Hello !

Thank you for asking my point of view:

If the European Union is indeed an intergovernmental organization everything is done to make believe to the citizens that this is some kind of a supranational democratic (federal or confederal) state: democratically elected Parliament, Council of Ministers and European Council working as a second chamber and Commission working (more or less) as a government. But I shall let my friends from the European Federalist Movement further answer this very question if they wish so.

I don’t like to erase something I don’t share: I much prefer to write my own different opinion about it so as to give the readers matters to think about. But if you prefer we could erase the sentence:

“The new Treaty of Lisbon might have gone some way to resolving the deficit in creating greater democratic controls on the Commission, including enshrining the procedure of linking elections to the selection of the Commission president, but at present it cannot be implemented because of the Irish No-Vote.[74] »

Because I think this sentence is misleading.

For the following citations I should have and will set them in quotation marks: “One cannot dismiss that to promote « public interests » the Commission listens to many public and private lobbies. It is clear that private ones (multinational companies) may offer much better incentives than public ones, to orient decisions”. They may also offer “ready to adopt legislation” thanks to their lawyers’ services. “One abiding complaint about (Commission) cabinets was that they intervened aggressively in personnel decisions, acting as lobbyists for national capitals in securing senior posts in the services”. “European Commissioners are also partisan politicians: they have spent their careers in national party organizations, owe their positions to nomination and support from national party leaders, and usually seek to return to the party-political fray”.

About this last point a recent British commissioner and a former French one are good examples...

"but "as a matter of fact" is usually used to introduce an opposing point of view stated as fact."

I am surprised but we don’t have the same use of the language: “as a matter of fact” doesn’t imply an “opposing point of view”, but a different one, which is quite different, but maybe I am wrong?

In fact the European Commission has more power than a democratic government in not being only the executive, but also the legislative branch of the EU, without the need of a Parliament vote to confirm a “European law”.

Henri PARATON-- (talk) 17:26, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Deleted Paragraph[edit]

I deleted this:

"One cannot dismiss that to promote « public interests » the Commission listens to many public and private lobbies. It is clear that private ones (multinational companies) may offer much better incentives than public ones, to orient decisions. They may also offer “ready to adopt legislation” thanks to their lawyers’ services.[2]"

Despite its citation, I think it's not particularly neutral, and notin keeping with WP. So I got rid of it. Feel free to revert this. -- (talk) 03:36, 22 September 2009 (UTC)


Okay Mr Paraton, I have blanket reversals especially as it isn't just vandalism, but I'm afraid there are just too many errors. For example the grammatical (using French speech marks instead of English) and factual (European Council instead of Council of Ministers) and that it is loaded with just too much POV. Furthermore, you have rather side stepped my stated reasoning above, mainly that political data is dealt with elsewhere and we don't need a repeat of that detail here. Perhaps if you outlined here exactly what you are meaning to say, and we can work through how to include it in a more accurate and NPOV manner? I am certainly not challenging the assertions you make, merely the way in which you make them.- J.Logan`t: 18:11, 23 September 2009 (UTC):

Dear Mr J. LOGAN

I am not interested in personal quarrels; I only wish to inform readers about the European Commission. I do respect other people’s ideas, even when I don’t share them and, as a democrat, I much prefer to counterbalance them with my own contribution rather than erase them.

Henri PARATON-- (talk) 08:18, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't suppose you'd like to read anything I've just said? If you were to, you'd know that I am objecting to your material for quality reasons rather than point of view, in that I have no objections.- J.Logan`t: 13:35, 25 September 2009 (UTC):

Dear Mr J.LOGAN, You seem to act as the moderator for this site, so let’s talk! 1/ You say that my quotation marks are French. They could as well be German, Belgian, Swiss or Italian, but not Spanish, of course. As a matter of fact, on my computer I work with several languages and, sometimes, forget to install the right tools. I would not mind should you change them into British (American) ones. 2/ You seem to think I am mixing the Council of Ministers (27 members with more or less the same national portfolio) and the European Council (27 Heads of State or government). I don’t think so. The later discusses, amends (as a High Chamber would do) and after their own national constitutional process, signs, that is to say “ratifies” the treaties. Am I wrong so far? 3/ You say, I quote: “I have blanket reversals especially as it isn't just vandalism, but I'm afraid there are just too many errors.” Why didn’t you use it before somebody erased the slash in </ref> making my references unreadable? And please what were supposed to be my errors? 4/ As I said before, I don’t mind partisans to the kind of intergovernmental organization we have to give their subjectively positive appreciation of the Commission and the Lisbon Treaty, as long as I can give the dark side of them to counterbalance it. The “problem” with political institutions is that there are political and every qualification given to them either positive or negative is subjective, that is to say not factual, and certainly not neutral. So what do we do? You reinstall my criticisms (the dark of the things) or you scrap the positive one? You’re certainly doing a great job, but please, make sure it is fair! Henri PARATON

Just to stress I am not against "the dark side" in the article, I don't even consider the additions you want to be that dark. Light grey at best. THey are just misplaced and aren't integrated well with the article. I'd go through and try to rewrite from scratch but a) I don't have time to do it fully and b) I don't have your source materials on me so I'm not sure exactly what is said. But as my arguments above also say, some of the additions are way to general (lobbying and business interests apply to ALL areas of government around the world) and some are too specific (politicisation of commissioners is dealt with in the European Commissioner article already so that data is not being removed, only moved. But like I say, if you could could talk about other issues and see how it is best to put them in while keeping the clean nature of the article. Sorry if some of my replies are delayed however, I don't have as much time as I used to.- J.Logan`t: 08:00, 27 September 2009 (UTC):

Dear Mr J.LOGAN,

Comitology is a way to consult whoever is concerned about a new legislation. It is not right to list only representatives of the administrations either national or European. That is the reason why I added the representatives of public and private lobbies without any connotation, and "Lobbycracia Europea, Gertrude Ryan Law Observatory". "Lobbies" should be linking to the French version of Wikipedia and "Lobbycracia Europa" to the Spanish one. My problem: I don't know how to do it. Could you help me! Thanks in advance. Henri PARATON-- (talk) 06:26, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

I believe that I have implemented your intentions - please check. --Red King (talk) 13:39, 28 September 2009 (UTC):

That is even better than what I was expecting. Thank you for your help! Henri PARATON-- (talk) 17:34, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Misleading definition of Commission[edit]

I think the first line definition is misleading:

The European Commission (formally the Commission of the European Communities) is the executive branch of the European Union.

The Europa Web site says it is also the executive, and Craig has:

. . .it is impossible to describe any of [the institutions] as the sole legislator or the sole executive. The Community does not therefore conform to any rigid separation-of-powers principle of the sort that has shaped certain domestic political systems.

--Boson (talk) 19:51, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

it is backed up isn't it, adjusted slightly for more generic but it is its de facto status given the Council is more hands off, as outlined. Its limitations are mainly those of the EU rather than the institution.- J.Logan`t: 18:11, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
I think we may have a further complication in that the Commission does not have anything like the powers of the executive branch of the USA [cf Boson's remark above], and thus the text as written will mislead many readers. In particular, the article executive branch begins In the study of political science[,] the executive branch of government has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The Commission does not have sole authority (and neither is there a state bureacracy, but I think we can assume that readers can generalise).
I wonder if we could say "the Commission is the executive of the Union"? - this would map to many national and international organisations, and align with what the Europa web site says. --Red King (talk) 23:06, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Firstly. it does not have the powers as the US President because the EU does not have the powers, in the same way the US President can not appoint the Senate as the UK Cabinet (I know that is an over simplification, but you get the idea about different state power resulting in different executive powers). And then with the qoute you have given, short of bringing in national administrations which would mean the US government wouldn't be an executive by virtue of the federal system, the Commission is the sole state bureacracy. The Parliament nor Council nor Court administer things like the competition policy, or organise Erasmus etc. - J.Logan`t: 07:38, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I am happy enough with the current formulation "acts as an executive branch of the European Union". I just think we should try, if possible, to avoid "the Commission is the executive (branch)", because "is" and "the" imply not only (a) that it is the only institution with executive power but also (b) that it has only executive power; and that would imply a strict separation of powers. It's a bit of a compromise, explaining it in terms of other constitutions to make it easier to relate to while avoiding a direct mapping that might mislead slightly.--Boson (talk) 10:23, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm still uncomfortable with the word 'branch' because that is an Americanism that has a very definite meaning for people familiar with the US system. I'll change it to "executive' and see how it reads. --Red King (talk) 13:42, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Hannan's blog[edit]

I have deleted the text that relays Hannan's wild claims. It is a long-standing Wikipedia policy that blogs are not accepted as a reliable source, and the fact that the Telegraph has reported that the blog has said something does not make the claim reliable, it only confirms that the claim was made. Hannan has a track record of making silly statements [gainst NHS, in favour of software patents, ar just two] so cannot be regarded as a notable commentator whose views merit inclusion. --Red King (talk) 19:11, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Agreed, blogs can only be used if we are reporting their comments and Hannan is a particular moron in this case. Besides, IMHO when something appears in the Telegraph its legitimacy must be seriously questioned! :)- J.Logan`t: 22:51, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
I would hesitate to question the Telegraph's good faith, even though its judgement is sometimes set aside when it comes to matters concerning Britain's relationship with the rest of Europe (I forgive it, it has to keep its elderly readership on board). In general, articles that cite Telegraph articles should be accepted as valid when doing so. --Red King (talk) 13:22, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, not as bad as the Mail I suppose, which is fictional nonsense cover to cover, but I still wouldn't so much as wipe my arse with it. Regardless, we have another issue. This is akin to a criticism section and offers undue weight, if we reliable source is found it still needs to be better integrated. Perhaps even Barroso Commission would be a more suitable article as that is what it is talking about.- J.Logan`t: 21:43, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't see any problems with the reliability of the source, if the only statement being made is that he published this opinion. However, it is not noteworthy in the context of this article and would give undue weight to an allegation made by a minor politician cum journalist that has apparently fallen on stony ground. It might be noteworthy in the context of alleged examples of "eccentric views" held by an "arrogant right-winger in love with the sound of his own voice". So perhaps the section should be moved to the article on Daniel Hannan. Arguably it would also be relevant in an article on Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom. --Boson (talk) 22:35, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Ditto on the move there and you raise a good point. I still think it could go as high as Barroso Commission - but a second figure backing it up would be needed for it to be taken seriously - or are we to mention all the views of Le Pen and Griffin as well?- J.Logan`t: 22:58, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Shouldn't also Wallström's blog be deleted? Whether her blog being trustworthy or not, she has ended her term and is not member of the commission any more. Her blog says "goodbye", so we can expect no future updates. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 16:17, 8 January 2010 (UTC)


Some information at the beginning of the article should be repeated in or moved to the subsection "Appointment". --D.M. from Ukraine (talk) 21:34, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

United States Comparison[edit]

I took out a reference to the President of the United States. The original text was:

"While that figure may be higher than that of some national elections, including the off-year elections of the United States Congress, the fact that there are no elections for the position of Commission President, unlike in the United States, calls the position's legitimacy into question in they eye's of some."

I took out "unlike in the United States" on the grounds that it could lead to confusion. There's a great deal of confusion over the President of the Commission with many people believing that the position is something like the EU's equivalent of the President of the United States. The two positions are clearly in no way comparable, so I think we should avoid going down this road. Blankfrackis (talk) 01:07, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

Clarification/additional info needed on appointment process[edit]

In the "appointment" section, the article says "each Commissioner is nominated by their member state". How is this actually accomplished? Does the current head of state (ie, president/prime minister) of each of the states nominate the commissioner for his state? or? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:57, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

See-also section[edit]

I suggest removing much of the "see also" section. Most of the articles listed are either not sufficiently relevant for such a section or are linked to (directly or indirectly) elsewhere in the article:

That would leave:

--Boson (talk) 15:13, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done --Boson (talk) 13:28, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

Details on starting the ordinary legislative process[edit]

How exactly is decided if a legislative process is started? How exactly is decided about the form of that initial legislative proposal? That would be nice to find in the article. --Van Tuile (talk) 21:49, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

Term of Office[edit]

When does the commission's term of office end? 5 years to the day of creation, the day the next Commission is approved..? Can the Parliament/Council just not get around to appointing/approving a new commission indefinitely? Bogger (talk) 13:02, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

According to Article 17 of the TEU, the term is 5 years (the present commission's term expires on 31 October). If no new college is approved, the old commission remains as a caretaker commission (with limited authority), but this is presumably governed by precedent and convention, not by any explicit Treaty provision. Rather British really! --Boson (talk) 22:44, 7 August 2014 (UTC)


Why the European Commission logo has been removed? I think it should be added back --Arzino (talk) 15:22, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Apparently this is what happened:

  • Someone created an identical copy on Commons.
  • The file was then speedy deleted on (F8 = identical copy on Commons)
  • The file was then deleted from Commons because it was "too complex to be PD").
  • The link to the file was then automatically removed.

Presumably, none of those involved intended the consequences resulting from the chain of events. Perhaps an administrator can unbureaucratically revert the file deletion on Wikipedia and revert the link removal, since the criteria for speedy deletion are no longer met and were probably met tmporarily only as a result of someone's lack of understanding of copyright. --Boson (talk) 17:40, 18 August 2014 (UTC)


  1. ^
  2. ^ Simon Hix “The political system of the European Union” (1999) MacMillan, Basingstoke: p53 et Raoul Marc JENNAR "Europe, la trahison des élites”: Fayard (2004) : pp.48-49