Commissioners' weekly meetings
The College of Commissioners, comprised of the 28 Commissioners, meets as a general rule at least once per week. This weekly decision-making procedure is called the oral procedure.
In practice, the Commissioners meet every Wednesday morning in Brussels. However, during the plenary sessions of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the meeting takes place on a Tuesday.
In addition to the weekly meetings, the President of the Commission can also call for extraordinary Commission meetings, when circumstances require. These are held to discuss a particular topic, or in response to a specific event.
The agenda of Commission meetings
The agenda of each meeting is set by the Commission President and is closely linked to the Commission's annual work programme. Each item on the agenda is presented by the Commissioner responsable for the area concerned. A collective decision on the item is then taken by all the Commissioners present.
The Commission functions on the principle of collegiality. Decisions are taken collectively by the College of Commissioners, which is responsible to the European Parliament for decisions taken. Each of the 28 Commissioners carries the same weight within the decision-making process and they are equally responsible for the decisions made.
- the quality of the decisions taken, since each Commissioner must be consulted on every proposal
- institutional independence, because decisions are adopted without partisan pressure
- the sharing of political responsibility across all Commissioners, even when decisions are reached by majority decision
The College can also decide on issues by voting on them. In this case, a majority of members of the College (15 of 28) needs to vote in favour of the decision in order for it to be adopted. Each member of the Commission has one vote, and can only cast their vote in person.
Participation in meetings
Commissioners are required to participate in all College meetings. If they are delayed for any reason, members must inform the President in good time. Any absence from College meetings must be limited to exceptional circumstances and justified.
Reports of weekly meetings
A written report of each College meeting is produced and published online.
Initiatives agreed on by the Commission
The Commission has the right of initiative in legislative matters. Once a legislative proposal has been collectively decided on by the College, it passes to the next stage in the law-making process. In the majority of cases, it is transmitted to the European Parliament for examination and adoption (following the ordinary legislative procedure, also called co-decision).
At the same time, the national parliaments of EU member countries are invited to give their opinion on the proposal and to confirm that it is more effective to deal with the issue at EU, rather than regional or local level.