Few institutions of the European Union (EU) evoke as much depth of sentiment as the European Commission. For some observers, the Commission is a faceless, hard-to-control authority bent on imposing its will on European governments and citizens. This narrative emphasizes the many functions and powers of the Commission — especially those that result in it being able to overrule national authorities on important policy matters. For other observers, the Commission represents the engine of a supranational political order that rises above fractious and narrow national interests to advance and defend the shared concerns of EU member states. This account highlights the Commission’s right to table new proposals, to adapt laws to ensure a ‘level playing field’ and to hold governments to account for breaching commonly adopted rules.
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