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Experiments in Supranational Institutionbuilding: The European Commission as a Laboratory

The European Commission represents a notable organisational innovation in the way that executive politicians at the top, i.e. the commissioners, have their primary affiliation to the international level. Thus, the Commission constitutes a laboratory for experiments in supranational institutionbuilding. In this paper these facts will be given a closer look.

ARENA Working Paper 4/2012

Morten Egeberg

International governmental organisations are governed by ministers who have their primary institutional affiliation at the national level. The European Commission represents a notable organisational innovation in the way that executive politicians at the top, i.e. the commissioners, have their primary affiliation to the international level. Thus, the Commission constitutes a laboratory for experiments in supranational institutionbuilding: What is the relative importance of nationality and organisational position as regards explaining actual behaviour? Concerning Commission officials, nationality seems to play a minor role. Nationality matters somewhat more regarding commissioners’ behaviour, but makes up only one of several components of their highly compound role.

ARENA Working Paper 4/2012 (pdf)