Strategic Centralization in the Commission

The new rules of procedure are published in the Official Journal. The main institutional innovation is the emergence of the political guidelines as the indispensable strategic document for all Commission policies. The political guidelines are laid down unilaterally by the Commission President (art. 3). There will be no multiannual strategic objectives that used to be adopted by the Commission, neither an annual policy strategy. The Commission will only adopt a working program and a draft budget each year.

As I pointed out when Mr. Barroso initially submitted his political guidelines to the European Parliament, we are entering a new phase of institutional relations in the EU. Not only will Mr. Barroso try to stick to his commitments in the political guidelines, but now he has a formal instrument to enforce them to a much larger degree in the college of commissioners.

I am unsure of the benefits of this strategic centralization. It may turn out to be a good instrument for policy coordination; however, I am concerned about the quality of deliberation in the decision-making process of the Commission.

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