The Secretariat-General is the heart of the European Commission as an institution and of its civil service. Under the authority of the President, it serves the whole College, oversees the implementation of the European Commission’s political priorities and ensures the collegiality, the consistency, the efficiency and the regularity of the Commission’s action.
To this end, the Secretariat-General is tasked with a range of policy development, steering and coordination functions, both upstream and downstream of the decisions of the Commission, both internally and externally.
The Secretariat-General is the main service of the President and closely coordinates its work with the other presidential services and the central services which, together with the Secretariat-General, ensure the smooth operation of the institution. In agreement with the President, the Secretariat-General also provides advice and support to the Vice-Presidents in the performance of their role as deputies of the President and coordinators of Groups of Commissioners and Project Teams, as set up by the President.
In particular, the Secretariat-General, under the authority of the President:
- defines the Commission’s strategic objectives and priorities and shapes cross-cutting policies;
- coordinates, facilitates, advises and arbitrates, so as to ensure the coherence, quality and delivery of policy, legislation and operations across policy areas and Commission departments, in line with the better regulation principles and evidence-based policy making;
- facilitates the smooth running of the Commission through planning and programming and operation of an efficient and modern registry;
- supports, via the Structural Reform Support Service, structural and administrative reforms in all EU Member States both with technical and financial support;
- acts as the Commission’s interface with the other European institutions, national Parliaments and non-governmental organisations and entities;
- supports the President of the Commission as member of the European Council and participant in Leaders’ meetings and other informal summits;
- coordinates the Commission’s work on policies with an external or international dimension, including the Union’s external representation as provided for in the Treaties;
- supports the President for all Summits with third countries, contacts with international partners and participation in international organisation and fora, notably the United Nations, the G7 and the G20;
- acts as the Commission’s interface with the European External Action Service;
- supports the Vice-Presidents in their tasks, including the management of the Groups of Commissioners and Project Teams, and helps ensuring that, as foreseen in the Commission’s Working Methods, Vice-Presidents are able to draw on any service in the Commission whose work is relevant for their area of responsibility;
- acts, together with the Cabinet of the President, as the guardian of fairness, objectivity, transparency and efficiency in the relationship between Vice-Presidents, between Vice-Presidents and Commissioners and between Commissioners;
- fosters the Commission’s institutional competences, good governance and the development of a service-oriented, modern, transparent and responsible EU administration which works to highest standards of ethics and integrity.