THE COMMISSION

The European Commission is the nucleus of the government of the federal union. We propose to shift certain executive functions from the Council to the Commission, subject to a new call-back procedure that builds on the existing rules for delegated acts [29].  Executive decisions that are now the responsibility of the Council on a proposal of the Commission (often consulting or informing the Parliament) would be transferred en bloc to the Commission. Either chamber of the legislature should have powers, under certain time constraints, to call in the Commission’s decisions for review. 

Such a transfer of executive power would mainly affect decisions on internal market measures, such as tariffs, tax and capital movements [30].  The Commission would also take over the duty to fix agricultural prices and fisheries quotas [31].  With its executive authority enhanced, the Commission will be better able to insist on the equal application of EU law by and in all member states. 

The fiscal union will need a treasury, housed in the Commission. A Vice-President of the Commission will be Treasury Secretary, responsible for running the fiscal policy of the Union as a counterpart to the single monetary policy run by the European Central Bank. The Treasury Secretary would represent the Union in negotiations on international monetary affairs [32].

With greater executive power comes greater democratic scrutiny and accountability. Members of the Commission should be available to be summoned before the European Parliament or Council on a more regular basis and at any time, like government ministers before national parliaments. Scrutiny arrangements should not be subject to polite ‘inter-institutional agreements’ but should be entrenched as a matter of course in the constitutional treaty. 

As the treaty already prescribes, and President Juncker proposes, the size of the Commission should be reduced to eighteen members [33].  Ideally this change should take place in 2019. In practice, however, the reduction might only materialise once the current let-out clause is suppressed. A smaller college will be less bloated, cheaper to run, more efficient in the conduct of business, and less inclined to act like just another Brussels-based ambassadorial committee. To get the best calibre of Commissioner, the President-elect should be allowed to choose the new college from candidates nominated by the states. Commissioners-designate are now subject to auditions by the European Parliament, and this practice should be codified in the new treaty [34].

[29] Article 290 TFEU. The unsatisfactory Article 291 (implementing acts) should thereby be suppressed. 
[30] Articles 26, 31, 66 and 112 TFEU.
[31] Article 43(3) TFEU. 
[32] Article 138 TFEU.
[33] Article 17(5) TEU.   
[34] Article 17(7) TEU.

 

← The European Council and Council | The European Court of Justice→

Twitter