European Law Monitor

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Are The Individuals Who Work in the European Commission Democratically Elected?

No, they are not, they are civil servants. The European Commission is the executive body of European Union. There are approximately 24,000 individuals who work in the European Commission, and they carry out the three core functions of the Commission, namely:

  • They prepare and draft proposals for legislation. This includes launching the consultation process, summarising the results, drafting green papers, drafting white papers, drafting legislative proposals, project managing the law making process from start to finish and negotiating between the European Parliament and the Council when differences arise.
  • The are the guardian of the Treaties; they ensure that the Treaty provisions, signed and agreed by all the Member States, are implemented.
  • They have to manage and execute EU policies and international trade agreements.

Although the Commission is not itself democratically elected, it is answerable to the European Parliament, which has the power to dismiss it by a vote of censure or no confidence.

The legislation it proposes cannot be automatically implemented, but must gain the approval of the European Parliament and / or Council (depending on the nature of the relevant procedure) before becoming law.

The Commission attends all sessions of the European Parliament and must explain and justify its policies if so requested by members of the house. It must reply to written or oral questions put by MEPs.