Balancing Autonomy and Accountability: Enduring Tensions in the European Commission’s Development

  • Morten Egeberg
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)


The existence of the European Commission is arguably the most peculiar component in the institutional architecture of the European Union (EU). While councils, parliamentary assemblies and courts may be found in governance structures at the international level as well, a separate executive body like the Commission is not in place anywhere else. The Commission and its predecessor, the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), were deliberately designed as engines of integration. They were to inject genuine European interests into the policy-making processes of the Community. To be able to fulfil this task, they had to be organized independently of the Council and the member governments, and have their own political leadership: the College of Commissioners.


European Union National Government European Parliament Senior Official Quota System 
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© Morten Egeberg 2006

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  • Morten Egeberg

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