The European Commission of the Twenty-First Century


The European Commission is arguably the world's most powerful international administration. It plays a central role in the political system of the European Union. The Commission is a permanent presence in the life of the member states, but its influence is felt far beyond their borders. Viewed historically as the motor of European integration, the Commission is the subject of intense controversy. It is portrayed frequently as technocratic, monolithic, and unaccountable, but also as fragmented and weakly led. ...
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The European Commission is arguably the world's most powerful international administration. It plays a central role in the political system of the European Union. The Commission is a permanent presence in the life of the member states, but its influence is felt far beyond their borders. Viewed historically as the motor of European integration, the Commission is the subject of intense controversy. It is portrayed frequently as technocratic, monolithic, and unaccountable, but also as fragmented and weakly led. According to accepted wisdom, it is populated by career bureaucrats, who want only to expand the competencies of the Union and therefore their own power.

This book tests these views. It asks: Who are the people who work for the organization? What are their educational and professional backgrounds? What do officials believe about the role of the Commission in the EU today and whether the Union should have more or less power? What leads them to choose to pursue a career in the Commission, and how do they navigate its complexities? How does the Barroso Commission compare to previous Commissions? How harmonious are relations between cabinets and the services? What has been the impact on the Commission of reform and of the 'big bang' enlargement?

Co-authored by an international team of researchers, this book draws on original data from the largest attitudinal survey ever conducted by independent researchers inside the Commission, as well as a structured programme of interviews with senior officials. It provides an authoritative account of the European Commission of the twenty-first century.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199599523
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/24/2013
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Hussein Kassim taught previously at Birkbeck, University of London, the University of Nottingham and the University of Oxford. He has held visiting positions at Arena, University of Oslo, Columbia University, New York University, the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University, and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris. He has published widely on the EU institutions, the relationship between the EU and the member states, especially France and the UK, and EU policy and administration. He is Professor of Politics in the School of Political, Social and International Studies and Co-investigator at the ESRC Centre for Competition Policy at the University of East Anglia.

John Peterson previously held posts teaching international, European and American politics at the Universities of Glasgow, York, Essex, Oxford, and the University of California (Santa Barbara). He has also held visiting posts at the Universities of Vienna, California (Berkeley), Sciences Po Paris, University College Dublin, the Centre for European Policy Studies (Brussels), and the College of Europe (Bruges). He was Head of Politics/IR from 2007-10. John was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkley and the Social Science Research Centure (WZB) in Berlin during 2010-11. He has published widely on international politics, European integration, and public policy. He is Professor of International Politics in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh.

Michael W. Bauer taught previously at the University of Konstanz From 1990-1996. He studied Social Sciences, German Philology and History in Mannheim, Frankfurt am Main and Vienna. He graduated 1996 with a Diploma in Social Sciences at the Humboldt-University Berlin. He was a Robert-Schuman-Fellow of the European Parliament in 1995. He holds a Masters in European Studies in Politics and Administration of the College of Europe, Bruges (1996/1997) and a PhD from the European University Institute, Florence (1997/2000). He worked for two years as an expert on the EU constitutional process for the Hessian Government (Hessische Staatskanzlei). His research interests like in comparative public policy and administration, EU institutions and politics, and the German Lander on which subjects he has published widely. He is Professor for Politics and Administration at the Institute of Social Sciences, Humboldt University of Berlin.

Sara Connolly previously taught in the School of Economics at the University of East Anglia, Brunel University and the University of Oxford. She has held visiting positions at the Centre for Equality, Social Organisation and Performance at the University of Oslo and the Centre for European Studies at New York University. She has published widely on gender, pay and employment, media economics and public policy. She is Reader in Personnel Economics at the Norwich Business School and Director of the Diversity and Equality in Careers and Employment Research Centre at the University of East Anglia.

Renaud Dehousse, prior to joining Sciences Po in 1999, was a Professor at the University of Pisa and at the European University Institute in Florence, where he led the Academy of European Law. He has been a visiting Professor at the University of Florence (Cesare Alfieri, the University of Lausanne, as well as Michigan University Law School, and at the College of Europe in Bruges). At Sciences Po, he co-directs the Master's in European Affairs and the 'Euro/Transatlantic Masters programme in partnership with the Universities of Bath, Madrid (Carlos III), Berlin (Freie Universitat and Humboldt), Prague (Charles), Siena, Washington (Seattle) and North Carolina (Chapel Hill). He is a Professor at Sciences Po where he holds a Jean Monnet Chair in European Union Law and Political Science and directs the Centre d'etudes europeennes.

Liesbet Hooghe received her Ph.D from the University of Leuven in Belgium in 1989. Before joining UNC in 2000, she taught at the University of Toronto (1994-2000), and held research fellowships at Cornell University, Oxford University (Nuffield), and the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). Since 2004, she has been affiliated to the Free University of Amsterdam. Her principal areas of interest are comparative politics (Europe and the European Union), identity, political parties, and political elites. Over the past years she has also researched ethnic conflict, nationalism and federalism. She is Professor of Political Science at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Andrew Thompson taught previously at the University of Wales, Cardiff, where he was Lecturer in Quantitative Methods at Cardiff Business School (1985-1996) and held research posts in the Greater London Association of Community Health Councils (1984-85), the University of Manchester (1979-1984), UMIST (1979) and Stockport Social Services Division (1978-79). His main research interests are in the field of citizenship and public policy, particularly in relation to health services. He is Professor of Public Policy and Citizenship; Postgraduate Adviser in the School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The European Commission in Question
2. The Commission and its Personnel
3. Navigating the Commission
4. What Officials Believe
5. The Commission in the EU Institutional System: a Citadel under Siege
6. Leadership in the European Commission
7. Cabinets and Services: Coordination in the European Commission
8. The European Commission and Administrative Reform
9. The Enlarged Commission
10. Conclusion

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