The European Commission and political representation: A new interinstitutional perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


The European Commission is usually absent from debates about representation in the European Union. This article addresses this gap in the literature by firstly, discussing the inter-institutional relationship between the Commission and those institutions which are the expression of electoral territorial representation. And secondly, by re-conceptualising political representation to account for the multiple meanings and dimensions of representation in the political process and in democratic design. We argue that the European Commission possesses a representative function within the European institutional balance as institutional broker geared to the realisation of the common European interest. This role is based both on its brokering function among the institutions that have an electoral mandate, namely the EP and the EU Council and the European Council, and on its wider consultative function. However, the Commission’s representative role depends on a number of factors, such as the effectiveness with which it can play a brokering role between the electorally mandated institutions; and the way it organises its consultative processes in terms of transparency and representativeness. Moreover, we argue that the current economic crisis and the EU’s institutional response to it, risk undermining the Commission’s capacity in playing this representative function of the common European interest based on its role as institutional broker within the institutional balance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Integration online Papers (EIoP)
Publication statusIn preparation - 2013


  • European Commission, Eurozone crisis


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