Overall political strategy
The EU’s overall political strategy is developed jointly by its institutions: the European Parliament, European Council, Council of the European Union, and European Commission.
In particular, the European Council (gathering the leaders from the 28 EU countries) provides orientations and general political priorities.
The President of the Commission also determines the political priorities for its mandate. Every 5 years, at the beginning of a new Commission term, the President of the Commission sets out the priority areas to be focused on during that term. These areas are derived from the Council's strategic agenda and from discussions with the political groups of the European Parliament.
Priorities for 2014 – 2019
The Commission's overarching priorities for the period 2014-19 are set out in the President's political guidelines.
State of the Union address
Every year, the President of the Commission comes to the European Parliament to present the achievements of the Commission during the previous year and the forthcoming priorities or initiatives for the year to come in the speech on the State of the Union.
How strategy is carried out
The Commission's yearly action plan
Based on the declaration of the President of the Commission in front of the European Parliament, a plan of action for the next 12 months is set out in the Commission work programme. It describes how the political priorities will be turned into concrete actions.
Other EU institutions and national parliaments also comment on the programme.
Planning and reporting by departments
For all major legislative and policy defining initiatives, Commission departments prepare an impact assessment to analyse the likely economic, environmental and social effects of the proposals.
A list of planned Commission initiatives and a list of adopted Commission initiatives is updated regularly and sent to other EU institutions to help them organise their own activities.
At the end of the budget year, all departments produce an annual activity report on their performance in achieving their objectives.
These reports are collated in a synthesis report communicated to the European Parliament and the Council. As of 2016, the synthesis report is included in the annual management and performance report for the EU budget.