Encyclopedia > List of Presidents of the European Commission
The President of the European Commission is the nominally highest ranking unelected official within the European Union. In recent years, Commission Presidents have increasingly been former EU member state prime ministers.
Selection and issues
The President of the Commission is selected by consensus among members of the European Council and must subsequently be approved by the directly-elected European Parliament along with the rest of the Commission. Thereafter, the President is accountable to Parliament, who may dismiss the Commission with a vote of no confidence.
As the head of the European Commission, effectively the executive branch of the European Union, it is sometimes argued that it would be appropriate for the President to be directly elected by citizens rather than being chosen by national governments.
However, no such change is envisaged. Under the Treaty establishing a constitution for Europe, agreed but not yet ratified by all member states, future candidates for the President of the Commission will be put forward by the European Council and elected by the European Parliament, who will have the final say. This differs from the present procedure in that Parliament will acquire the power to reject the President-designate specifically, rather than simply rejecting the entire Commission.
Presidents of the High Authority of the ECSC (prior to entry into force of Merger Treaty of 1967):
The EuropeanCommission (formally the Commission of the European Communities) is the executive of the European Union.
Alongside the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, it is one of the three main institutions governing the Union.
The Commission originated in the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community, which was established in 1952 under the terms of the Treaty Establishing the European Coal and Steel Community.
The President of the EuropeanCommission is notionally the highest ranking unelected official within the European Union.
The President of the Commission is selected by consensus among members of the European Council and must subsequently be approved by the European Parliament, along with the remainder of the Commission.
As the head of the EuropeanCommission, effectively the executive branch of the European Union, it is sometimes argued that it would be appropriate for the President to be elected by the European Parliament, or directly elected by citizens, rather than being chosen by national governments.
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