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Constitutional Matters Reading Notes

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The EU's Institutional Structure: the Commission, the Council, the Parliament and the Court. Craig & de Burca Chapter 2: CENTRAL ISSUES:
- must not compare traditional preconceptions of separation of power when it comes to EU institutions.
- Pattern of institutional competence within Community not remained static. Changed because of subsequent Treaty revision and as result of organic change in political balance of power between the institutions over time THE COMMISSION (a) The college of commissioners: appointment and removal term 'Commission' connotes both College of Commissioners and permanent Brussels bureaucracy which staffs Commission services. Method of choosing commissioners has been altered, Plt has more say now. Under Art 214(2) the Council nominates person intended to be appointed as president of commissions. Nomination must be approved by European Parliament. Main amendment introduced by the Treaty of Nice, is that the operative Council decisions are reached by qualified majority, whereas previously they were made by common accord. Commissioners hold office for 5 years, term is renewable: Art 214(1) EC. Commissioner can be retired, needs approval of ECJ on application of Council (Art 216 EC). Difficulty in this process past of problem in demise of Santer Commission. Treaty of Nice supplemented with art 217(4). Provides that Commissioner shall resign if President so request, after obtaining approval of College of Commissioners.

(b) The College of commissioners: Composition While commissioners come from Member States they do not represent their own States. Reinforced by art 213(2), sys that Commms must be independent and not take instructions from any other body. Comms meet collectively as College of Comms. Commission operates under guidance of its President (TN strengthened his powers) and they take decisions by majority vote. Art 213 says one Comm from each state and Council can alter number of members of Comm. But now that Union has at least 27 member states, number of Comms less than number of Member states. Debate at TN, should there be rotational system or should there always be one of each? Argument for rotation - Commission does not represent states, and if 27 comms, could look a lot like a deliberative assembly and not collegiate body. Comms have personal staff (cabinets), usually six. Staff have many functions. Tensions between cabinets and Commission bureacracy, with cabinet being regarded as representing national rather than Community interests. (c) College of Commissioners: Decision-making College of Comms operates in 4 different ways.

1. Important things - dealt with through meetings of College, occur weekly. Meetings of Commission groups - coordinate activities of Commission.

2. Written procedure: used where deliberations in college do not seems necessary. Sent to all cabinets, can object and request it to be discussed in College meeting.

3. Empowerment - Commission empowers individual commissioner to make decision, still respecting principle of collective responsibility.

4. Delegation to directors-general and heads of service, who act on behalf of Commission. This procedure used for routine business.

(d) The Presidency of the Commission Position of real significance, primus. 217 TN powers were increased - provides that comission should work under reign of president. President can appoint vice presidents and as known, can remove commissioners. Pres

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