B1.3.2 The European Commission


“Promoting the common interest”

The European Commission represents and upholds the interests of Europe as a whole. Its functions include:

  • Drafting proposals for new European laws, which it presents to the European Parliament and the Council.
  • Managing the day-to-day business of implementing EU policies and spending EU funds.
  • Taking action against rule-breakers, taking them to the European Court of Justice if necessary


The Commission consists of one person from each EU country. They are assisted by around 24,000 civil servants, most of whom work in Brussels.

The President of the Commission is chosen by EU governments and endorsed by the European Parliament. The other commissioners are nominated by their national governments in consultation with the incoming president, and must be approved by the European Parliament. They do not represent the governments of their home countries. Instead, each of them has responsibility for a particular EU policy area.

The President and Members of the Commission are appointed for a period of five years, coinciding with the period for which the European Parliament is elected.