European Law Monitor

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What is the European Commission, and What Does it Do?

The European Commission is what is known as the "legislative generator"; it is the EU executive institution that prepares the draft proposals required to meet the treaty objectives agreed by the member states. These usually pass through an initial consultation phase before being issued as green papers, become white papers and then become official proposals.

The department within the Commission, the "Directorate General", who has put forward the proposal, will be responsible for project managing the proposal right the way through the legislative process. In that capacity they often act as intermediaries between the European Parliament and the European Council, particularly when the European Parliament and the Council have different views on how a proposal should be amended.