The European Commission (formally the Commission of the European Communities) is the executive branch of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union.
The Commission operates in the method of cabinet government, with 27 Commissioners. There is one Commissioner per member state, though Commissioners are bound to represent the interests of the EU as a whole rather than their home state. One of the 27 is the Commission President (currently José Manuel Durão Barroso) appointed by the European Council. The Council then appoints the other 26 Commissioners in agreement with the nominated President, and then the 27 Commissioners as a single body are subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament. The present Barroso Commission took office in late 2004 and should serve a five-year term.
The term "Commission" can mean either the 27 Commissioners themselves (known as the College of Commissioners), or the larger institution that also includes the administrative body of about 25,000 European civil servants who are split into departments called Directorates-General and Services. The internal working languages are English, French and German.
The Commissioners and their immediate teams are based in the Berlaymont building of Brussels.
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