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The European Commission in the Post-Lisbon Era of Crises

Between Political Leadership and Policy Management

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Edited By Michele Chang and Jörg Monar

The European Commission has alternatively been portrayed as an all-powerful institution controlling far too many resources versus a bureaucracy that operates at the behest of Member States. In recent years the EU has been beset by major challenges coming from the inside (the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty) and the outside (the global financial crisis). How has the Commission responded to these events? Has the Commission changed substantially in terms of its institutional structure or the functions it performs? To what extent was the Commission actively promoting such changes versus accepting initiatives emanating from the Member States?
This edited volume seeks to answer these questions by examining this institution and how it has performed in several major policy areas in which the Commission traditionally has been both very active and others in which its influence has been more limited. This comparative study examines the impact that the changes brought about this past decade has had on the Commission.

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Foreword by Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič

Extract

Negotiations on what would eventually become the Lisbon Treaty began in 2001, and it is no surprise therefore that following its eventual adoption in 2009, the Commission and the other EU institutions were quick to take advantage of the many positive developments it brought. What the Lisbon Treaty has brought above all is more democracy, clarity and transparency. Let me highlight two innovations that I consid- er to be of particular importance. One of the most visible innovations was the introduction of a new participatory democracy tool, the Europe- an Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), which is without precedent at transnational level. This new right will enable one million citizens from at least seven Member States to invite the Commission to make a legislative proposal. I believe that the Citizens’ Initiative will not only change the way we do business at EU level, giving much-needed momentum to the European political arena by bringing in fresh ideas which reflect the concerns of our citizens, but it will also strengthen European identity by fostering something that we haven’t seen enough of so far: genuine cross-border debate about EU issues. The second major innovation of the Lisbon Treaty is the beefed up role for national parliaments, which now have an important voice on the European stage. They participate through the subsidiarity “early warning system” that the Lisbon Treaty established and through the political dialogue launched by President Barroso in 2006. I welcome the rapid increase in national parliament opinions received by the Commission: European democracy...

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