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Appointment of the Commission: Parliament’s role before 1995

Written by Alexandra Devantier
© European Union

In September 2014, the Commissioners-designate for the Juncker Commission will be required to appear before the European Parliament’s committees as part of the procedure for the approval of the European Commission. This will be the fifth set of hearings to be held since 1995. But what about the Commissions prior to 1995? Did Parliament already have a role to play in the new Commission’s appointment in those days?

With this briefing we provide a short account of the procedure used before 1995 and the long road which Parliament had to take to have its say in the appointment of the Commission.

It has always been the tradition for each President of the Commission, when taking office, to deliver a general policy statement before Parliament.

Until 1981, when Parliament approved the appointment of the Thorn Commission with its resolution of 12 February, the newly nominated President of the Commission gave a speech to Parliament in plenary. However, no vote of approval or of confidence was taken until 15 January 1985, when the first vote of confidence was passed in the first Delors Commission.

Formal hearings of commissioners-designate were introduced as a result of the Maastricht Treaty. The first Commission to be subject to this new procedure was the Santer Commission in 1995.

Read the whole briefing here.

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