EP hearings for Commissioners-designate. Additional references

hearingEuropean Parliament committees have heard (sometimes twice) all Commissioners-designate; commentators have been betting on ‘rejected’ candidates and speculating on agreements between political groups to secure a pass for ‘their’ candidates; governments – as here the Slovenian one – are re-asserting that Member States, and not MEPs, nominate Commission candidates. A well-known news outlet in the Brussels beltway, the European Voice, considers this as one of those rare moments

where a bit of politics, even political drama, pushes its way into the stodgy world of European Union policy.

Squarely at home in the “stodgy world”, we at the library like to refer back to the comprehensive series of briefings put together by our colleagues at the EP Research Service: #EPHearings2014: Meet the Commissioners-designate!; the briefings trace the development of the Parliament’s power in this respect, and the way it has contributed to a more political and presidential Commission, not without criticism by those attached to the idea of a neutral and collectively accountable college of Commissioners.

In this post, we add a few references, drawn for the occasion from the much larger catalogue of the library at the EU Commission. They show how EU scholars have analysed the appointment of the European Commission as a strategic game between the EP and the Council, and have tried to understand if the new appointment procedure gives the Commission more margin of manoeuvre in policy-making. The picture emerging is an increasingly complex institutional balance: as Crombez and Hix put it

Since 2003 the Commission has been appointed by a (qualified) majority vote by the governments, rather than by unanimity. As a result, Commissions with ideal policies further from the status quo can now be appointed. However, the policy impact of a more radical Commission has been constrained by the preferences of the governments and the European Parliament in the legislative process and the checks and balances for adopting legislation.

While we wait for the next instalment of the “political drama”, here are some other references, from the most recent to the oldest. Most works are available in full text on the Internet, while for some others a subscription is required:

  • Treaty reform and the Commission’s appointment and policy-making role in the European Union / Christophe Crombez and Simon Hix.
    In: European Union Politics 2011, v. 12, n. 3, October, p. 291-314.
    Full text available
  • Technocratic and independent? The appointment of European commissioners and its policy implications / Arndt Wonka.
    In: Journal of European public policy 2007, v. 14, n. 2, March, p. 169-189.
    Subscription required
  • Explaining the European Parliament’s right to appoint and invest the Commission / Catherine Moury.
    In: West European Politics 2007, v. 30, is. 2, p. 367-391.
    Subscription required
  • The composition of the College of commissioners patterns of delegation / Holger Döring.
    Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies Cologne, 2006.
    Full text available
  • The European Commission–Appointment, preferences, and institutional relations / Stefan Napel and Mika Widgrén.
    Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, 2006.
    Full text available
  • Governare l’Unione europea : dinamiche e prospettive istituzionali / Lorenzo Spadacini and Matteo Frau.
    Rubbettino, 2006.
    Available at European Commission Central Library
  • Delegation and abdication? The appointment of European commissioners and its policy implications / Arndt Wonka.
    Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung, 2004.
    Full text available
  • The European Parliament’s emerging powers of appointment / Martin Westlake.
    In: Journal of common market studies 1998, v. 36. n. 3, p. 431-444.
    Subscription required
  • L’étrange procédure de nomination de la Commission européenne / Roland Darnoux.
    In: Revue politique et parlementaire 1995, v. 97, n. 978, p. 17-27.
    Available at European Commission Central Library


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