The European Commission – III part
We have already talked about the European Commission’s functions. Now we are going to take this matter further. But before expanding on some aspects relative to these functions, we must see where the European Commission acts and how it is structured. The seat of the European Commission is Brussels. Brussels is actually the seat of the European Commission, while the Council meets also in Luxembourg, in April and October, in compliance with a certain agreement that has been accepted within the Treaties. The Commission generally meets every Wednesday in Brussels. The commissioners are chaired by the President of the Commission and they deliberate on the different proposals that the Commission must adopt. The decision is taken by simple majority, since the Commission is a body where the simple majority is a very common procedural rule: there is no other voting system. The Commission generally does not vote very often, since they try to achieve a consensus among the commissioners; but if they reach a deadlock, the President can solicit a voting that can bring to a decision by simple majority. You can easily notice how the Commission’s structure has changed: in the past there were 10 commissioners representing the big states and 10 representing the small ones; now there are 19 commissioners representing the small countries and 6 representing the big ones. But all this is not going to change the spirit and the function of the Commission, because the latter has its own planning character, its own vocation that brings it to be a super partes institution, that must act in the interests of the European Union and not in the interests of each single state. That is why, as you’ll see, the constitution has introduced a mechanism that will substantially allow to avoid a direct representation between Member State and Commission, in order to avoid transforming the Commission (that, as we have already said, must be a super partes body), into an inter-governmental body. The Commission is divided in Directorate-General and, as I have previously mentioned, the Directorates-General are 23-24; they change according to the different moments and probably they will be expanded, since, as you know, the competences of the European Union have expanded too. The most important Directorates of the European Union are the ones concerning foreign relationships, for instance: the Relex Directorate, a very wide Directorate, because of the huge number of people that work within it (considering also the representatives operating in the delegations of the developing countries and in the other countries of the world). Then there is the Directorate for Competition, a very important body, but there are also other noticeable Directorates, as the one for industry; the one for information, that is the Directorate that deals with the technological development of the European Union; the Directorate for social affairs, the Directorate for trade, another very important field, as you can see in this moment in the dispute with China, as far as concerns the aggressiveness in the textile field. The European Commission, that in this case exerts a European Union’s exclusive competence concerning the trade policy, has the right/duty to intervene in order to avoid that any commercial operations damaging competition and the market be performed against the member states. But the Commission can intervene only in case of operations damaging the market, since in case of free competition the Commission must ensure its appliance also at international level.
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