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Between Potential, Performance and Prospect: Revisiting the Political Leadership of the EU Commission President

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  • Henriette Müller

    (NYUAD Institute, New York University Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)

Abstract

This contribution argues that although the latest EU treaties formalized the Commission presidency to substantial degree, it remains a constitutionally weak office for the provision of political leadership. The capacity to lead thus still strongly depends on the individual incumbent. As a first step, the article examines the legal-procedural structure of the office before and after the Lisbon Treaty came into force. Secondly, it analyzes the political leadership performance of the Commission president José Barroso in comparison with his predecessor Jacques Delors. In bridging formal institutional rules with concrete performances this article contributes to the understanding of the relationship between structure and agency in international institutions as well as to the growing literature on political leadership in the European Union.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cog:poango:v:4:y:2016:i:2:p:68-79
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. Tony Barber, 2010. "The Appointments of Herman van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(s1), pages 55-67, September.
    3. Pieter De Wilde & Michael Zürn, 2012. "Can the Politicization of European Integration be Reversed?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(S1), pages 137-153, March.
    4. Pollack, Mark A., 1997. "Delegation, agency, and agenda setting in the European Community," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 99-134, January.
    5. Andy Smith, 2003. "Why European Commissioners Matter," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 137-155, March.
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