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Why European Commissioners Matter


  • Andy Smith


Discussions of the role European Commissioners play in European Union politics are shaped by three powerful implicit assumptions. These posit a causal relationship between a Commissioner's behaviour and previous career, portfolio and national origin. In addition, Commissioners are seen as exacerbating the fragmentation of the European Commission as a whole. Based on an empirical study of eight Commissioners from the Delors II and the Santer colleges, this article challenges or reformulates these assumptions. In so doing, it also shows that sociologies of actors such as European Commissioners ‘matter’ to the study of politics in the European Union.

Suggested Citation

  • Andy Smith, 2003. "Why European Commissioners Matter," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 137-155, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jcmkts:v:41:y:2003:i:1:p:137-155
    DOI: 10.1111/1468-5965.00414

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    Cited by:

    1. Kassim, Hussein, 2013. "A new model presidency: José Manuel Barroso's leadership of the European Commission," Discussion Papers, Schumpeter Junior Research Group Position Formation in the EU Commission SP IV 2013-502, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    2. Claudio M. Radaelli & Ulrike S. Kraemer, 2008. "Governance Areas in EU Direct Tax Policy," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46, pages 315-336, March.
    3. Henriette Müller, 2016. "Between Potential, Performance and Prospect: Revisiting the Political Leadership of the EU Commission President," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 4(2), pages 68-79.
    4. Razvan-Alexandru GENTIMIR, 2015. "A Theoretical Approach On The Strategic Partnership Between The European Union And The Russian Federation," CES Working Papers, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 7(2), pages 288-295, August.

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