The Economic Principles of European Integration

By Stephen Frank Overturf | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 2
Community Institutions

Since 1967 the major institutions of the EEC, and ECSC, and Euratom have been merged into the EC Commission, Council of Ministers, European Parliament (Assembly), and Court of Justice.


INSTITUTIONS

The main executive arm of the EC is the Commission. It consists of fourteen members, with two representatives each from France, West Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain, and one each from Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and the Netherlands. The presidency is a two-year term, with extension possible. Although allocated from member states, the commissioners, once appointed, are supposed to cease taking instructions from their governments and become "European." There is in this a flavor of the old High Authority of the ECSC, which was, of course, the Commission's immediate predecessor. The intended autonomy is reinforced even further by not allowing the (frankly governmental) Council to remove commissioners from office.

In addition to the commissioners, there are a number of directorates-general for various functions served by the Commission, including, for example, external relations, economic and financial affairs, and industry and technology. There are also various specialized services, including the secretariat-general, legal service, statistical office, administration of the customs union, official publications office, and so on.

The role of the Commission was intended to be that of a driving force behind the Community. It was to administer the treaties and

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