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The European Commission.

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Introduction

The European Commission by Neill Nugent Chapter 1 Introducing the Commission Two distinct levels: College and the services The College of Commissioners: 20 members (two from F, D, I, SP, UK and one from each of the other ten). College: sits at the apex of the Commission. Approval is necessary for all major initiatives and decisions in the Commission's name. Strong tendency towards consensual decision-making. Members of the College hold policy portfolios (responsible for particular areas of policy). Commissioners = the most senior figures in the Commission. The services: 21 000 full-time employees (small). Commission's administration is sub-divided. Main sub-units: Directorates General (DGs). Numbers are subject of periodic change, in the recent years: 20 - 25. Other sub-units: special services. The Commission's multi dimensional nature: composed of many parts contains wide range of different views and interests. Commission = complex "multi-organisation" (Cram). Sometimes tension and friction between the political (College) and administrative (services) arms. College: sometimes tensions and frictions, especially in the cross-sectoral policy areas, over who is responsible for particular aspects of policy. Services: common problem is differences between DGs over policy priorities and policy methods. Functions of the Commission: Commission = Position at the heart of the EU system of governance. At least some involvement with every aspect of EU affairs. Direct participant at virtually every stage of EU policy and decision-making. Central position � wide variety of functions. Article 211 (TEC) states that the Commission amongst other things shall formulate recommendations or deliver opinions. The nature of the functions: Main functions: ? Policy initiator: Commission promotes and develops many of the policy initiatives that are launched at the EU level ("driving force behind European integration") ...read more.

Middle

Fact: the Commission = far from beeing a wholly cohesive and united institution. Plurality and heterogeneity characterise much of its nature and activities. The College in operation: It deals with its business in one of three main ways: 1.) The delegation procedure (habilitation procedure): allows for certain types of measures to be dealt with by individual Commissioners acting under powers that have been delegated to them by the College. 2.) The written procedure: commonly used for proposals where no delegation procedure applies but where discussions or deliberations in College meetings do not seem to be necessary because all points have been agreed by the relevant DGs and approval has been given by the Legal Service. 3.) College meetings: all matters not dealt with on of the above mentioned are referred to a full College meeting. ? Preparation of College meetings: all issues on the College's agenda have always been extensively discussed at pre-meetings of the Commissioners' staff. Most important pre-meeting: chefs de cabinet (chaired by the Secretary General, main purpose: review and examination of the proposed agenda of the College meeting so as to try and ensure that it proceeds as smoothly and efficiently as possible). ? Agendas of College meetings: prepared by the Secretary General and his staff in consultation with the President and his staff. Can be very diverse: - Proposals for the development of policies need to be discussed or formally adopted (reviewed). General purpose of all proposals: providing a framework for EU activities in the policy spheres. - Approval is required for some types of proposed Commission executive action and/or legislation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Staff: 200 employees ? The Joint Interpreting and Conference Service: providing interpreters for meetings ? The Translation Service: meaning of documents = the same in all languages. ? The Joint Research Centre (JRC): Most work: sponsoring research undertaken by outside organisations on a shared-cost or contract basis. Conflicts within the services: 3 general sorts of inter-service conflicts: ? Territorial conflict for influence and control over and within policy areas, for example: many issues cutting across internal organisational boundaries � 'turf wars' between DGs ? Ideological conflict over policy approaches and solutions ? Conflict over resources: For example, staffing and operational budgets Inter-service coordination: Informal manner + established mechanisms. The main mechanisms are: ? 'horizontal' services, especially the Secretariat General ? weekly meetings of directors general + assistants ? requirement in the Commission's Rules of Procedure that all services with a potential interest in an initiative or proposal be given the opportunity to make observations before reference is made upwards to the College ? Inter-service meetings Chapter 7 Personnel Size: 21 703 Commission staff (2000 EU budget) Established staff: The Commission employs around three-quarters of all EU staff on establishment. 16 409 permanent posts. Non-established staff: A number of different types of non-established staff: Two broad types are of particular importance: Second officials or detached national experts and temporary agents The staff grading system: Five separate grades: A-, LA-, B-, C- and D-grade. Most important: A-grade: policy-making and policy management grade. Grade is divided in eight points: A1 - director general or equivalent, A2 - deputy director general, ... A6 - A8 - assistant administrator The multi-national staffing policy: to ensure that there is a balanced representation of nationals from all member states throughout the services. 1 ...read more.

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