Frequently portrayed as the civil service of the EU, in reality the Commission is rather more and rather less than that. Rather more in the sense that the treaties and political practice have assigned to it muchgreater policy-initiating and decision-making powers than those enjoyed, in theory at least, by national civil services. Rather less in that its role in policy implementation is greatly limited by the fact that the member states are charged with most of the EU’s day-to-day administrative responsibilities. The Commission is centrally involved in EU decision-making at all levels and on all fronts. With an array of power resources and policy instruments at its disposal, and strengthened by the frequent unwillingness or inability of other EU institutions to provide clear leadership, the Commission is at the very heart of the EU system.
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