Experiments in Supranational Institution Building: The European Commission as a Laboratory
Classical international organizations are formally governed by ministers who have their primary institutional affiliation at the national level. The European Commission, on the other hand, represents a notable organizational innovation in the way that executive politicians at the top, i.e., the commissioners, have their primary institutional affiliation at the international level.
By Morten Egeberg
Thus, the Commission constitutes a ‘laboratory’ for experiments in supranational institution-building: what is the relative importance of nationality and organizational position with regard to explaining actual decision behaviour? This article takes stock of the existing literature in the field, and also launches a future research agenda. 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, thus making behaviour at the top of the Commission qualitatively different from behaviour in, for example, the European Council.
This article is published in Journal of European Public Policy, Volume 19, Issue 6 2012