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Workings of the European Commission

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Workings of the European Commission


Headquartered in the Berlaymont building in Brussels, the European Commission acts as an executive of the European Union, like a supranational independent government, with one commissioner from each member state.

It is intended that the commissioners serve the interests of the EU as a whole. The body is responsible for proposing legislation and implementing decisions arrived at communally. A commissioner’s salary is a little over 20,000 euros per month, and almost 25,000 for the president.

The Commission differs from the other institutions in the European Union in that it alone has legislative initiative; only the Commission can make formal proposals for legislation. This is aimed at ensuring coordinated and coherent drafting of Union law.

Essentially, the Council which represents governments and the Parliament which represents the people ask the Commission (representing the European interest) to draft legislation. Amendments may be made, with the Council and Parliament holding the power of decision over the final law.

The Commission has the duty to ensure the laws and treaties are upheld and is responsible for the proper implementation of the EU budget. An innovation introduced by the Lisbon Treaty is that one million EU citizens can also petition the Commission for legislation.

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