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President of the European Commission

The President of the European Commission is notionally the highest ranking unelected official within the European Union. In recent years, Commission presidents have increasingly been former EU member state heads of governments.



The President of the Commission is selected by consensus among members of the European Council and must subsequently be approved by the European Parliament, along with the remainder of the Commission. Thereafter, the President is accountable to Parliament, who may dismiss the Commission with a vote of no confidence.

As the head of the European Commission, effectively the executive branch of the European Union, it is sometimes argued that it would be appropriate for the President to be elected by the European Parliament, or directly elected by citizens, rather than being chosen by national governments. However, no such change is envisaged. Under the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, agreed but not yet ratified by all member states, the Council will be obliged to take into account the results of the most recent elections to the European Parliament when nominating the President of the Commission. Furthermore, under the constitution future candidates for the President of the Commission will be put forward by the European Council and approved by the European Parliament, who will have the final say. This differs from the present procedure in that Parliament will acquire the power to reject the President-designate specifically, rather than simply rejecting the entire Commission.

List of office-holders

No. Name Commission Assumed office Left office Member-state National party
1 Walter Hallstein Hallstein Commission 1958 1967 West Germany
2 Jean Ray Ray Commission 1967 1970 Belgium
3 Franco Maria Malfatti Malfatti Commission 1970 1972 Italy DC
4 Sicco L. Mansholt Mansholt Commission 1972 1972 Netherlands
5 Francois-Xavier Ortoli Ortoli Commission 1973 1977 France
6 Roy Jenkins Jenkins Commission 1977 1981 United Kingdom Labour
7 Gaston Edmont Thorn Thorn Commission 12 January 1981 1985 Luxembourg Democratic Party
8 Jacques Delors Delors Commission 1985 1995 France Parti Socialiste
9 Jacques Santer Santer Commission 1995 15 March 1999 Luxembourg CSV
10 Manuel Marin Interim March 1999 September 1999 Spain PSOE
11 Romano Prodi Prodi Commission September 1999 18 November 2004 Italy Olive Tree Coalition
12 José Manuel Durão Barroso Barroso Commission 18 November 2004 (Present office-holder) Portugal PSD

See also

External links

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