The President of the European Commission is the head of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union. The President of the Commission leads a cabinet of Commissioners, referred to as the college, collectively accountable to the European Parliament, which is directly elected by EU citizens. The President is empowered to allocate portfolios amongst, reshuffle or dismiss Commissioners as necessary. The college directs the Commission's civil service, sets the policy agenda and determines the legislative proposals it produces (the Commission is the only body that can propose[a] EU laws).

The President of the Commission also represents the EU abroad, together with the President of the European Council and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The post was established in 1958. Each new President is nominated by the European Council and formally elected by the European Parliament, for a five-year term. As of 2017, the current President is Jean-Claude Juncker, who took office on 1 November 2014. He is a member of the European People's Party (EPP) and is the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg. Juncker is the twelfth President and his First Vice-President is Frans Timmermans.


Jean-Claude Juncker José Manuel Barroso Romano Prodi Manuel Marín Jacques Santer Jacques Delors Gaston Thorn Roy Jenkins François-Xavier Ortoli Sicco Mansholt Franco Maria Malfatti Jean Rey (politician) Walter Hallstein
Walter Hallstein, the first President of the Commission


In 1957 the present Commission was established by the Treaty of Rome, and it also replaced the High Authority and the Commission of Euratom in 1967.[2] The Commission's first president was Walter Hallstein (see Hallstein Commission) who started consolidating European law and began to impact on national legislation. National governments took little heed of his administration at first with the President having to stamp the Commission's authority early on. With the aid of the European Court of Justice the Commission began to be taken more seriously.[3]

In 1965 Hallstein put forward his proposals for the Common Agricultural Policy, which would give the Community its own financial resources while giving more power to the Commission and Parliament and removing the veto power over Agriculture in the Council. These proposals led to an immediate backlash from France.[4] Hallstein knew the proposals would be contentious, and took personal charge of drafting them, over-riding the Agriculture Commissioner. However he did gain the support of Parliament through his proposals to increase its powers, and he also presented his policy to Parliament a week before he submitted them to the Council. He aimed to demonstrate how he thought the Community ought to be run, in the hopes of generating a wave of pro-Europeanism big enough to get past the objections of member states. However, in this it proved that, despite its past successes, Hallstein was overconfident in his risky proposals.[5]

President Mansholt opened the first enlargement talks with Denmark, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom

In reaction to Hallstein's proposals and actions, then-French President, Charles de Gaulle, who was sceptical of the rising supranational power of the Commission, accused Hallstein of acting as if he were a head of state. France eventually withdrew its representative from the Council, triggering the notorious "empty chair crisis".[4] Although this was resolved under the "Luxembourg compromise", Hallstein became the scapegoat for the crisis. The Council refused to renew his term, despite being the most 'dynamic' leader until Jacques Delors.[5]


Hallstein's work did enable the Commission to be a real player. During the 1970s the presidents were involved in the major political projects of the day, such as the European Monetary Union.[6] In 1970, President Jean Rey secured the Community's own financial resources[7] and in 1977, President Roy Jenkins became the first Commission President to attend a G7 summit on behalf of the Community.[8]

However, due to problems such as the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 energy crisis, economic hardship put the European ideal on the back burner, with only the President trying to keep the idea alive. The member states had the upper hand and they created the European Council to discuss topical problems, yet the Council was unable to keep the major projects on track such as the Common Agricultural Policy.[9] The Community entered a period of eurosclerosis due to economic difficulties and disagreements on the Community budget, and by the Thorn Commission the President was unable to exert his influence to any significant extent.[10]


Jacques Delors (left) breathed new life into the European Commission Presidency after a period of 'eurosclerosis' under his predecessor, Gaston Thorn (right)

However the Commission began to recover under President Jacques Delors' Commission. He is seen as the most successful President, being credited with having given the Community a sense of direction and dynamism.[11] The International Herald Tribune noted the work of Delors at the end of his second term in 1992: "Mr. Delors rescued the European Community from the doldrums. He arrived when Europessimism was at its worst. Although he was a little-known (outside France) finance minister and former MEP, he breathed life and hope into the EC and into the dispirited Brussels Commission. In his first term, from 1985 to 1988, he rallied Europe to the call of the single market, and when appointed to a second term he began urging Europeans toward the far more ambitious goals of economic, monetary and political union."[12]

But Delors not only turned the Community around, he signalled a change in the Presidency. Before he came to power the Commission President still was a position of first among equals, when he left office he was the undisputed icon and leader of the Community. His tenure had produced a strong Presidency and a strong Commission as the President became more important. Following treaties cemented this change, with the President being given control over the allocation of portfolios and being able to force the resignation of Commissioners. When President Romano Prodi took office with the new powers of the Treaty of Amsterdam, he was dubbed by the press as Europe's first Prime Minister.[13][14] President Delors' work had increased the powers of Parliament, whose support he had enjoyed. However, later Commissions did not enjoy the same support and in 1999 parliament used its powers to force the Santer Commission to resign.[15]

Parliamentary oversight

President Prodi was dubbed by the press as "Europe's first Prime Minister" due to his new powers

Historically, the Council appointed the Commission President and the whole body by unanimity without input from Parliament. However, with the Treaty on European Union in 1993, the European Parliament, the body elected directly by the citizens of the European Union,[16] gained the right to be 'consulted' on the appointment of the President and to veto the Commission as a whole. Parliament decided to interpret its right to be consulted as a right to veto the President, which the Council reluctantly accepted[17] This right of veto was formalised in the Amsterdam Treaty. The Treaty of Nice changed the Council's vote from a unanimous choice to one that merely needed a qualified majority. This meant that the weight of the Parliament in the process increased resulting in a quasi-parliamentary system where one group could be 'in government'. This became evident in 2004 when numerous candidates were put forward and a centre-right vote won out over left wing groups and France & Germany.[18] Barroso was then forced to back down over his choice of Commissioners due to Parliament's threat that it would not approve his Commission.[19]

In 2009, the European People's Party endorsed Barroso as their candidate for Commission President and the party subsequently retained their position as largest group in that year's elections. The Socialists responded by pledging to put forward a rival candidate at future elections.[20] Barroso once again was forced by Parliament to make a change to his proposed Commission[21] but eventually received assent. However, in exchange for approval, Parliament forced some concessions from Barroso in terms of Parliamentary representation at Commission and international meetings.[22] On 7 September 2010, Barroso gave the first US-style State of the Union address to Parliament; which focused primarily on the EU's economic recovery and human rights. The speech is to be annual.[23]


President Barroso, from the EPP which was the largest party after the 2004 and 2009 elections

Article 17 of the Treaty on European Union, as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon, lays out the procedure for appointing the President and his team. The European Council votes by qualified majority for a nominee for the post of President, taking account of the latest European elections. This proposal is then put before Parliament which must approve or veto the appointment. If an absolute majority of MEPs support the nominee, he/she is elected. The President then, together with the Council, puts forward his team to the Parliament to be scrutinised. The Parliament normally insists that each one of them appear before the parliamentary committee that corresponds to their prospective portfolio for a public hearing. The Parliament then votes on the Commission as a whole and, if approved, the European Council, acting by a qualified majority, appoints the President and his team to office.[24]


Qualified majority in the Council has led to more candidates being fielded while there has been greater politicisation due to the involvement of Parliament and the change of policy direction in the EU from the creation of the single market to reform of it.[25] However, despite this, the choice within the Council remains largely behind closed doors. During the appointment of Santer, discussions were kept in private with the media relying on insider leaks. MEPs were angry with the process, against the spirit of consultation that the new EU treaty brought in. Pauline Green MEP, leader of the Socialist group, stated that her group thought "Parliament should refuse to condone a practice which so sullies the democratic process".[26] There were similar deals in 1999 and 2004 saw a repeat of Santer's appointment when Barroso was appointed through a series of secret meetings between leaders with no press releases on the negotiations being released.[27] This was sharply criticised by MEPs such as the ALDE group leader Graham Watson who described the procedure as a "Justus Lipsius carpet market" producing only the "lowest common denominator"; while Green-EFA co-leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit asked Barroso after his first speech "If you are the best candidate, why were you not the first?"[28][29]


The number of presidents per member state
 United Kingdom

The candidate selected by the Council has often been a leading national politician but this is not a requirement. The choice of President must take into account the result of the latest Parliamentary elections (i.e. the candidate supported by the victorious European political party in particular, or at least someone from that political family[according to whom?]). That provision was not in force in the nomination in 2004, but the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) who won the elections pressured for a candidate from its own ranks. In the end, the EPP candidate was chosen: José Manuel Barroso.[30] On the same basis, the EPP endorsed again Barroso for a second term during the 2009 European elections campaign and, after winning again the elections, was able to secure his nomination by the European Council[citation needed].

Further criteria seen to be influencing the choice of the Council include: which area of Europe the candidate comes from, favoured as Southern Europe in 2004; the candidate's political influence, credible yet not overpowering members; language, proficiency in French considered necessary by France; and degree of integration, their state being a member of both the eurozone and the Schengen Agreement.[31][32][33]

There is an assumption that there is a rolling agreement along these lines that a president from a large state is followed by a president from a small state, and one from the political left will be followed by one from the political right: Roy Jenkins (British socialist) was followed by Gaston Thorn (Luxembourg liberal), Jacques Delors (French socialist), Jacques Santer (Luxembourg Christian democrat), Romano Prodi (Italian left wing Christian democrat) and Jose Barroso (Portuguese Christian democrat). However, despite these assumptions these presidents have usually been chosen during political battles and coalition building. Delors was chosen following a Franco-British disagreement over Claude Cheysson, Santer was a compromise after Britain vetoed Jean-Luc Dehaene and Prodi was backed by a coalition of thirteen states against the Franco-German preference for Guy Verhofstadt. [34]


In February 2008, President Barroso admitted that despite the President having in theory as much legitimacy as heads of governments, in practice it was not the case. The low voter turnout creates a problem for the President's legitimacy, with the lack of a "European political sphere", but analysts claim that if citizens were voting for a list of candidates for the post of President, turn out would be much higher than that seen in recent years.[35]

Under the Treaty of Lisbon the European Council has to take into account the results of the latest European elections and, furthermore, the Parliament elects, rather than simply approve, the Council's proposed candidate. This was taken as the parliament's cue to have its parties run with candidates for the President of the Commission with the candidate of the winning party being proposed by the Council.[36] This was partly put into practice in 2004 when the European Council selected a candidate from the political party which secured a plurality of votes in that year's election. However at that time only a minor party had run with a specific candidate: the then fourth placed European Green Party, who had the first true pan-European political party with a common campaign,[37] put forward Daniel Cohn-Bendit and lost even their fourth place in the following election becoming only the fifth largest group in 2009 and diminishing their candidate's chances further.[36] However the winning European People's Party only mentioned four or five people as candidates for President.[38]

There have been plans to strengthen the European political parties[39] in order for them to propose candidate for future elections.[40][41] The European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party indicated, in its October 2007 congress, its intention to forward a candidate for the post as part of a common campaign but failed to do so.[42] However the European People's Party did select Barroso as their candidate and, as the largest party, Barroso's turn was renewed.

The Socialists, disappointed at the 2009 election, agreed to put forward a candidate for Commission President at all subsequent elections.[43] After a campaign within that party to have open primaries for said candidate,[20] the PES Congress gathering in Brussels in November 2011 decided that PES would designate its candidate for Commission president through primaries took place in January 2014 in each of its member parties and organisations,[44] before a ratification of the results by an Extraordinary PES Congress in February 2014.


For the first time, prior to the 2014 election presidential candidates were nominated. This enabled them to present election programmes and campaign for the position (the campaign bus of Jean-Claude Juncker depicted).

The Spitzenkandidat (German for "Lead Candidate") process is the method of linking European Parliament elections by having each major political group in Parliament nominating their candidate for Commission President prior to the Parliamentary elections (the Spitzenkandidaten). The Spitzenkandidat of the largest party would then have a mandate to assume the Commission Presidency. This process was first run in 2014 and its legitimacy was contested by the Council.


According to the treaties, the President of the European Commission is nominated by the European Council. Until 2004, this nomination was based on an informal consensus for a common candidate. But in 2004 the centre-right European People's Party rejected the consensus approach ahead of the European Council meeting and pushed through their own candidate, Barroso.[45] The approach of national governments was to appoint the various high-profile jobs in EU institutions (European Council President, High Representative and so on) dividing them according along geographic, political and gender lines. This also led to fairly low-profile figures in some cases, as it avoided candidates who had either made enemies of some national governments or who were seen as potentially challenging the Council or certain member states.[46]

Article 17.7

Unease had built up around the way the secretive, power play that was involved in these appointments leading to a desire for a more democratic process.[46] At the end of 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force. It amended the appointment of the Commission President in the Treaty on European Union Article 17.7 to add the wording "taking into account the elections to the European Parliament", so that Article 17.7 now included the wording

"Taking into account the elections to the European Parliament and after having held the appropriate consultations, the European Council, acting by a qualified majority, shall propose to the European Parliament a candidate for President of the Commission."

2014 election

In 2013, in preparation for the European elections of 2014, Martin Schulz, then President of the European Parliament campaigned for the parliamentary party groups to name lead candidates for the post of President of the European Commission; his own party group, the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats named Schulz as their lead candidate (German: Spitzenkandidat). The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group and The Greens–European Free Alliance then named their own lead candidates, as did the European People's Party.[45] The German term for lead candidates caught on, and they became known informally as Spitzenkandidaten. The European Conservatives and Reformists, now the third largest of the political groups, did not name a candidate, objecting to the principle of Spitzenkandidaten and its "tenuous" basis in law.[47]

The People's Party won a plurality (29%) in the 2014 elections, and Jean-Claude Juncker, its lead candidate, was appointed as president by the European Council. British Prime Minister David Cameron and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán were the only members of the council to object to his selection.[48]


Some commentators argued that this amendment did not entitle the political parties of the Parliament to nominate candidates for the president of the Commission, and that such an interpretation would amount to a "power grab" at the expense of the European Council.[49] The Council found itself taken off guard by how the process took off, and had backed themselves into a corner in having to approve the Parliament's candidate. Following the appointment, leaders vowed to review the process.[50]

It has also been argued that it is still insufficiently democratic and needs to be replaced with a more direct system.[46] Some suggestions toward this have been electing the President via a transnational list, having a direct election,[51] and holding primary elections.[52] Parliamentary proposals to enact some of these in advance of the 2019 election have been opposed by some in the Council.[53]

Term of office

The President is elected for a renewable five-year term starting five months after the elections to the European Parliament. These were brought into alignment via the Maastricht Treaty (prior to which the Commission had a four-year term of office) and the elections take place in June every five years (in years ending in 4 and 9).[54] This alignment has led to a closer relationship between the elections and the President himself with the above-mentioned proposals for political parties running with candidates.

The President and his Commission may be removed from office by a vote of censure from Parliament. Parliament has never done this to date, however the imminence of such a vote in 1999, due to allegations of financial mismanagement, led to the Santer Commission resigning on its own accord, before the Parliamentary vote.[55]

Duties and powers

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The President of the European Commission is the most powerful position in the European Union, [56] controlling the Commission which collectively has a monopoly on all Union legislation and is responsible for ensuring its enforcement. [56] [57] The President controls the policy agenda of the Commission for his term and in practice no policy can be proposed without the President's agreement. [56]

The role of the President is to lead the Commission, and give direction to the Commission and the Union as a whole. The treaties state that "the Commission shall work under the political guidance of its President" (Article 219 TEC), this is conducted through his calling and chairing of meetings of the college of Commissioners,[54] his personal cabinet and the meetings of the heads of each commissioner's cabinet (the Hebdo). [56] [54] The president may also force a Commissioner to resign.[54] The work of the Commission as a body is based on the principle of Cabinet collective responsibility, however in his powers he acts as more than a first among equals.[54] The role of the President is similar to that of a national Prime Minister chairing a cabinet. [56]

The President also has responsibility for representing the Commission in the Union and beyond. For example, he is a member of the European Council and takes part in debates in Parliament and the Council of Ministers. Outside the Union he attends the meetings of the G8 to represent the Union.[54] However, in foreign affairs, he does have to compete with several Commissioners with foreign affairs related portfolios: the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the President of the European Council.[58]

The Presidential system had started to develop since Jacques Delors and has since been cemented. However, externally he is still dependent on support from the Council and Parliament. Delors had enjoyed the Parliament's and the Council's support for his whole term, during which, through treaty changes, the Parliament increased in powers and, through the accession of new Member States, the Council increased in membership. The membership is now so large the President is increasingly unable to garner the support of all the states, even though the job is supposed to try to keep everyone happy. The Parliament now has more powers over the Commission and can reject its proposals, although the Commission has little power over Parliament, such as the ability to dissolve it to call new elections.[59]

The President's office is on the top, 13th, floor of the Berlaymont building in Brussels. The president receives his political guidance from his cabinet, the head of which acts as a political bodyguard for the President. Such factors can lead to an isolation of the President from outside events.[60] For the European Civil Service the President has a very high status, due to his immense authority and symbolism within the body.[61] The President exercises further authority through the legal service and Secretariat-General of the Commission. The former has the power to strike down proposals on legal technicalities while the latter organises meetings, agendas and minutes. His control over these areas gives the President further political tools when directing the work of the Commission. This has also increased the Presidential style of the Commission President.[62]

With the reorganisation of leading EU posts under the Lisbon Treaty, there was some criticism of each posts vague responsibilities. Ukrainian ambassador to the EU Andriy Veselovsky praised the framework and clarified it in his own terms: The Commission President speaks as the EU's "government" while the President of the European Council is a "strategist". The High Representative specialises in "bilateral relations" while the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy deals in technical matters such as the free trade agreement with Ukraine. The President of the European Parliament meanwhile articulates the EU's values.[63]

The MEP and author of several EU text books Richard Corbett has suggested that, instead of every EU institution having a "President", it would have been clearer if they had been named differently, with a "Speaker" of the Parliament, a "Governor" of the Central Bank, a "Chairman" of the (ordinary) Council of Ministers, a "President" of the European Council - and a "Prime Commissioner".

Relationship to European Council Presidency

Having both a Commission President (Barroso, left) and a European Council President (Van Rompuy, right) led to concerns over confusion and infighting

Despite the recent presidential style, the president has also begun to lose ground to the larger member states as countries such as France, Italy, the UK and Germany seek to sideline its role. This may increase with the recent creation of the permanent President of the European Council.[64] There has been disagreement and concern over competition between the President of the European Council Van Rompuy and the Commission President Barroso due to the vague language of the treaty. Some clarifications see Van Rompuy as the "strategist" and Barroso as a head of government. In terms of economic planning Van Rompuy saw the Commission as dealing with the content of the plan and the European Council as dealing with the means and implementing it. Despite weekly breakfasts together there was a certain extent of rivalry between the two, as well as the High Representative.[63][65][66] At international summits, both Presidents go at the same time to represent the Union, with, in principle, the Commission President speaking on economic questions and the European Council President on political questions, although this division is often hard to maintain in practice.

Although there are concerns that this competition with the new European Council President would lead to increased infighting,[67] there are provisions for combining the two offices. The European Council President may not hold a national office, such as a Prime Minister of a member state, but there is no such restraint on European offices. So the Commission President, who already sits in the European Council, could also be appointed as its president. This would allow the European Council to combine the position, with its powers, of both executive bodies into a single President of the European Union.[68]

Privileges of office

The basic monthly salary of the President is fixed at 138% of the top civil service grade[69] which, in 2013, amounted to €25,351 per month or €304,212 per year plus an allowance for a residence equal to 15% of salary as well as other allowances including for children's schooling and household expenses.[70]

List of presidents

This section firstly presents a lists over presidents of the three executives that were merged in 1967 following the Merger Treaty, namely the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community (from 1952), and the commissions of the European Atomic Energy Community and the European Economic Community (both from 1958). Secondly, a list is given over the presidents after the merger, when the single position presided over the Commission of the European Communities, until 2009 when the Treaty of Lisbon renamed of the institution, creating the President of the European Commission.

In force
Paris Treaty
Rome treaties
Merger Treaty
Lisbon Treaty
  Commission of the European Atomic Energy Community Commission of the European Communities European Commission   
High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community
  Commission of the European Economic Community

Prior to the Merger Treaty

High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community (1952–1967)

Portrait Name
Country Term of Office Political Party
1 Jean Monnet bust in the Peace Palace.png Jean Monnet
 France 10 August 1952 3 June 1955 None
Monnet Authority
Monnet resigned on Europe day 1955 following the failure of the European Defence Community.[71][72]
2 European Union politic personality icon.svg René Mayer
 France 3 June 1955 13 January 1958 None
Mayer Authority
3 European Union politic personality icon.svg Paul Finet
 Belgium 13 January 1958 15 September 1959 None
Finet Authority
4 Pietro Malvestiti.jpg Piero Malvestiti
 Italy 15 September 1959 22 October 1963 None
Malvestiti Authority
5 European Union politic personality icon.svg Rinaldo Del Bo
 Italy 22 October 1963 1 March 1967 None
Del Bo Authority
Albert Coppé (1967).jpg Albert Coppé
 Belgium 1 March 1967 5 July 1967 None
Coppé Authority
Interim president before the Merger Treaty entered into force and merged the executives

Commission of the European Atomic Energy Community (1958–1967)

Portrait Name
Country Term of Office Political Party
1 European Union politic personality icon.svg Louis Armand
 France 1958 1959 None
Armand Commission
2 European Union politic personality icon.svg Étienne Hirsch
 France 1959 1962 None
Hirsch Commission
3 European Union politic personality icon.svg Pierre Chatenet
 France 1962 1967 None
Chatenet Commission

Commission of the European Economic Community (1958–1967)

Portrait Name
Country Term of Office Political Party
1 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F004665-0003, Walter Hallstein.jpg Walter Hallstein
 West Germany 1 January 1958 30 June 1967 Christian Democratic Group
Hallstein Commission
Hallstein Commission comprised nine members (two each from France, Italy and Germany, one each from Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands). It was faced with a formidable array of tasks. These tasks included the implementation of a customs union and "the Four Freedoms", as well as common policies on competition, trade, transport and agriculture. Though Hallstein's own vision of a federal Europe was clear, the EEC treaty left many questions open.

After the Merger Treaty

Commission of the European Communities (1967–2009)

The European Economic Community was established by the Treaty of Rome, presently known as the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; a founding treaty of the union, which explains that the enumeration of presidents which ends with the present position starts with the first President of the Commission of the European Economic Community. The European Union is also the legal successor of the European Economic Community, or the European Community as it was named between 1993 and 2009. The establishment of the European Union in 1993 upon the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty (formally the Treaty on European Union) did not affect the name of the position.


  European People's Party   ALDE Party/ELDR Party   Party of European Socialists   European Progressive Democrats

Portrait Name
Country Electoral
Term of Office Political Party
2 Jean Rey World Economic Forum 1975.jpg Jean Rey
 Belgium 30 June 1967 1 July 1970 Liberals and Allies Group
Rey Commission
Still a convinced federalist, he undertook to reinforce the Community institutions. He won increased powers for the European Parliament and advocated its election by universal suffrage. During his presidency, he oversaw the completion of the customs union. He also played an important role the Summit of The Hague in 1969, where the European leaders decided to relaunch European integration with two new initiatives: on the one hand, Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union (EMU), and on the other hand, European Political Cooperation (EPC), which foreshadow the euro and the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union today.
3 Franco Maria Malfatti crop.jpg Franco Maria Malfatti
 Italy 1 July 1970 1 March 1972 Christian Democratic Group
Malfatti Commission
The Malfatti Commission began as the integration process was relaunched: the EC adopting a financial framework and competing the single market. There was also the beginnings of political cooperation, monetary cooperation and of enlargement as talks opened with Denmark, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom. He resigned from this post in 1972 to run for office in Italy.
4 Sicco Mansholt 1974 (1).jpg Sicco Mansholt
 Netherlands 1 March 1972 5 January 1973 Socialist Group
Mansholt Commission
Mansholt became President of the European Commission on 22 March 1972, and continued in that position until 5 January 1973. It was around that time he was heavily under the influence of Club of Rome.
5 Franciscus Xavierus Ortoli.jpg François-Xavier Ortoli
 France 5 January 1973 5 January 1977 European Progressive Democrats
Ortoli Commission
The Ortoli Commission affronted the oil crisis of 1973 and the soaring prices of black gold. Ortoli, the first and last Gaullist President of the Commission, was one of the main architects of the foundation of the European Monetary System (SME) and the European Currency Unit (ECU).
6 Roy Jenkins 1977b.jpg Roy Jenkins
 United Kingdom 1979 5 January 1977 19 January 1981 Party of European Socialists
Jenkins Commission
The main development overseen by the Jenkins Commission was the development of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union from 1977, which began in 1979 as the European Monetary System, a forerunner of the Single Currency or Euro. President Jenkins was the first President to attend a G8 summit on behalf of the Community. Jenkins remained in Brussels until 1981, contemplating the political changes in the UK from there. During his Commission, there were the first European parliamentary elections in 1979.
7 Thorn Van Agt 1980 cropped.jpg Gaston Thorn
 Luxembourg 19 January 1981 6 January 1985 ELDR Party
Thorn Commission
In 1980 Thorn was chosen as President of the Commission of the European Communities (now called the European Union), in succession to Roy Jenkins. He took office on 12 January 1981. He was seen as very close to the President of France, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, and generally as a defender of French interests in European politics. Although Thorn was not considered a very forceful Commission President, during his term of office the Commission continued to expand its power, both at the expense of the national governments of EC members, and of the European Parliament, with which the Commission engaged in a constant power struggle.
8 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F078267-0023, Bonn, Ministerpräsidenten mit EU-Kommissar Delors-CROPPED.jpg Jacques Delors
(born 1925)
 France 1984
6 January 1985 24 January 1995 Party of European Socialists
Delors Commission
During his presidency, Delors oversaw important budgetary reforms and laid the groundwork for the introduction of a single market within the European Community, which came into effect on 1 January 1993. In the autumn of 1988 Delors addressed the British Trade Union Congress, promising that the EC would be a force to require governments to introduce pro-labour legislation. His long tenure also included the signing of the Schengen Agreement (1985), enlargement of the European Community (Spain and Portugal joined in 1986), adoption of the Single European Act (1986), reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (associated with the creation of the European Programme of Aid to the Poorest, and the signing of the Maastricht Treaty (1992), which marked the transition of the EC to the European Union (1993). As an attempt to strengthen the European Executive, Jacques Delors's Third Commission represented the European Community at major international summits (G7 and OCDE meetings, etc.). Delors also inspired the White paper.
9 Jacques Santer.jpg Jacques Santer
(born 1937)
 Luxembourg 1994 24 January 1995 15 March 1999[73] European People's Party
Santer Commission
Santer became the ninth President of the European Commission in 1995 as a compromise choice between the United Kingdom and a Franco-German alliance, after the Franco-German nominee Jean-Luc Dehaene was vetoed by British prime minister John Major. Allegations of corruption concerning individual EU-commissioners led to an investigation into administrative failings (incompetence and malpractice) by an independent group of experts. Santer Commission resigned after the corruption scandal.
Immanuel Marín die 23 Novembris 2009.jpg Manuel Marín
 Spain 15 March 1999 17 September 1999 Party of European Socialists
Santer Commission (interim)
Interim President after the Santer Commission's corruption scandal.
10 Romano Prodi in Nova Gorica (2c).jpg Romano Prodi
(born 1939)
 Italy 1999 17 September 1999 22 November 2004 ELDR Party
Prodi Commission
Prodi, a strong supporter of European Integration, became President of the European Commission thanks to the support of both the conservative European People's Party and social-democratic Party of European Socialists in the European Parliament. It was during Prodi's presidency, in 2002, that eleven EU member states abandoned their national currencies and adopted the Euro as their single currency. This commission saw in increase in power and influence following Amsterdam Treaty. In 2004 the EU was enlarged to admit several more member nations, most formerly part of the Soviet bloc. As well as the enlargement and Amsterdam Treaty, the Prodi Commission also saw the signing and enforcement of the Treaty of Nice as well as the conclusion and signing of the European Constitution.
11 Barroso EPP Summit October 2010.jpg José Manuel Barroso
(born 1956)
 Portugal 2004
22 November 2004 1 November 2014 European People's Party
Barroso Commission
During his first presidency, the following important issues were on the Commission's agenda: Turkey applying for EU membership, the reform of the institutions (Treaty of Lisbon), the Bolkestein directive, aimed at creating a single market for services within the EU, Lisbon Strategy, Galileo positioning system, Doha Development Agenda negotiations, European Institute of Innovation and Technology, and an EU climate change package.

European Commission (2009–present)

Upon its entry into force in 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon renamed the Commission of the European Communities the European Commission, reflecting the de facto name as well as the fact that the European Communities pillar was abolished along with the rest of the pillar system.


  European People's Party

Portrait Name
Country Electoral
Term of Office Political Party
Barroso EPP Summit October 2010.jpg José Manuel Barroso
(born 1956)
 Portugal 2004
22 November 2004 1 November 2014 European People's Party
Barroso Commission
In 2012 Barroso called for the EU to evolve into a "federation of nation-states". Addressing the EU parliament in Strasbourg, Barroso said he believed Greece would be able to stay in the eurozone if it stood by its commitments. Barroso also set out plans for a single supervisory mechanism for all banks in the eurozone.
12 Ioannes Claudius Juncker die 7 Martis 2014.jpg Jean-Claude Juncker
(born 1954)
 Luxembourg 2014 1 November 2014 Incumbent European People's Party
Juncker Commission
European migrant crisis. The United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union.

See also


  1. ^ within the areas specified by the Treaties


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  • Eppink, Derk-Jan (2007). Life of a European Mandarin: Inside the Commission. Translated by Connerty, Ian (1st ed.). Tielt, Belgium: Lannoo. ISBN 978-90-209-7022-7. 
  • Hix, Simon (2008). What's wrong with the EU and how to fix it. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Polity. ISBN 978-0-7456-4205-5. 

External links