The European Commission is the executive body of the EU, which simultaneously has the right of legislative initiative.
- Functions. The Commission owns the right of legislative initiative: it develops legislative proposals and sends them to the Council, controls the further legislative process; monitors the application of legislation adopted by the Council. In cases of violations, he may resort to sanctions, for example, refer the matter to the Court. It has the right to make independent decisions in such areas as agriculture, trade, competition, transport, the functioning of a single domestic market, environmental protection, etc .; implements the budget and manages EU funds. In addition, the European Commission carries out EU diplomatic functions abroad, having a network of representative offices (including in Moscow).
- Composition. The Commission consists of 20 members (two representatives each from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, one each from the rest of the Member States). They are appointed for five years by national governments, but are completely independent in the performance of their duties. Nominations are approved by the European Parliament. The term of office of the current Commission expires in 2004.
2005, according to the Nice revision of the EU Treaty, a simplification of the principle of the formation of the Commission is envisaged (a rotation system is introduced instead of the principle of state representation). It envisages strengthening its responsibility to the European Parliament.
- Organizational structure. The Commission consists of 26 Directorate-Generals, directing certain EU activities, including relations with third countries. For example, Directorate-General XVI deals with the implementation of cohesion policies, Directorate-General VIII deals with the development of cooperation with ACP states (African, Caribbean and Pacific states, parties to the Lome conventions). The Commission has 15 thousand employees — this is the largest EU institution.
- Place and time of meetings. The commission meets once a week in Brussels.