Policy issues

The institutions of the European Union: what are they and why do they matter?

Published on

November 22, 2018

European Commission

The European Commission is often portrayed as a costly machine, made of grey bureaucrats, detached from the reality of the man in the street, and entrenched in red tape and lengthy procedures. But what is it exactly and how does it work?

The European Commission is one of the main institutions of the European Union. It is constituted by a team of 28 Commissioners, coming from each country of the EU and led by a President (currently Jean-Claude Juncker). The College embodies the political leadership of the European Commission, which is divided in Directorates General, each responsible for a particular policy area. Overall, approximately 32,000 people work in this institution.


Did you know?
Only 6% of the annual budget of the EU (€145bn in 2015) is spent on running costs for all institutions. 94% of it funds real activities on the ground

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