1\. Introduction 5 2\. Commission Officials and EU Governance 5 2.1 Explaining
Beliefs on EU Governance 9 2.2 Beliefs about the Future 12 3\. Commission
Officials and Politics 14 3.1 Understanding Ideological Variation in the
Commission 15 3.2 The Meaning of the “Political“ 18 4\. Commission Officials
and Policy Scope 21 4.1 Centralization Across the Board? 22 4.2 Bureau-
maximization? 24 5\. Conclusion 26 References 28 Appendix: Multivariate
What lives in the European Commission at the beginning of the 21st Century?
This paper charts Commission officials’ views on the governance, ideological
direction, and policy scope of the European Union, employing data from a large
survey conducted in Autumn 2008. First, the Commission is not a hothouse for
supranationalism. True, supporters of a supranational Union with the College
of Commissioners as the government of Europe and member states in the back
seat are the largest minority, but they are outnumbered two-to-one by state-
centric, pragmatist, and ambivalent officials. There are striking differences
in distribution by nationality, gender, and department. Second, where do
Commission officials stand on ideology? The answer is that the Commission is
broadly representative of European societies, at least on traditional economic
left/right issues, though decidedly more socio-liberal. Ideological views are
not randomly distributed across services, with social DGs significantly more
social-democratic than DGs handling market integration. Officials from new
member states are more market-liberal than their ‘western’ colleagues.
Finally, are Commission officials indeed bureau-maximizers? We find that, on
the whole, Commission officials want more EU authority in the eleven policy
areas that we asked them to evaluate, but their desire to centralize is
selective and measured. It seems driven by functional imperatives –
centralization where scale economies can be reaped – and by values and
ideology rather than by a generalized preference for maximal Commission power.
In short, the bureaucratic politics argument has been overstated.
300 Sozialwissenschaften::320 Politikwissenschaft
The European Commission in the 21st Century
core beliefs on EU governance
Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften
Kolleg-Forschergruppe "The Transformative Power of Europe"
KFG working paper