What is the European Commission? 

The Commission is made up of the College of 27 Commissioners, one from each member state, and of a staff of 33,000 administrators. The College of Commissioners provides the Commission’s political leadership. It serves a five-year term that is timed to coincide with the elections to the European Parliament. It is headed by the Commission President, who is chosen by national political leaders in the European Council, taking into account the results of the elections to the European Parliament.

The Commission plays a key role in the EU. Specifically, the Commission is responsible for bringing forward proposals for EU laws. It is the only EU institution that has this authority. Policy initiation is a key function, since the EU cannot make law without action on the part of the Commission. Proposals are then debated, amended, rejected or agreed jointly by member governments in the Council of the European Union and Members of the European Parliament.

The Commission oversees implementation and enforcement of EU laws and rules by governments, businesses and other actors. It manages policy and the EU budget, and in the case of competition policy takes decisions. The Commission also negotiates trade agreements on behalf of the EU.

Click here for more information on the European Commission

View all facts

Subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter

Get a round-up of The UK in a Changing Europe’s latest analysis pieces, videos, explainers, podcasts, reports, events, infographics and more, written by the organisation’s director Anand Menon. PS his mum says it’s "quite good".

Sign up to our newsletter

View our latest newsletter