How are the Commission President and Commissioners appointed? 

Commission President

The European Parliament elects the Commission President.

After the elections, one of the first tasks of an incoming Parliament is to elect a new President of the European Commission (the EU’s executive body). Member states nominate a candidate for the post, but in doing so they must take account of the European election results. Moreover, Parliament needs to approve the new Commission President by an absolute majority (half of the existing MEPs plus one). If the candidate doesn’t obtain the required majority, the member states need to propose another candidate within a month's time (European Council acting by qualified majority). For the 2014 elections, Parliament introduced the system of lead candidates. Each European political party put forward a candidate for Commission president and the party which became the biggest in the elections could propose Parliament’s candidate for the nomination for the Commission leadership.


Candidates for the remaining Commission portfolios have to go through a tough parliamentary vetting process too.

The Council, in agreement with the Commission President-elect, adopts a list of candidate commissioners, one for each member state. These Commissioners-designate appear before parliamentary committees in their prospective fields of responsibility. Each committee then meets to draw up its evaluation of the candidate's expertise and performance, which is sent to the President of the Parliament. A negative evaluation has prompted candidates in the past to withdraw from the process. The full Commission, including the Commission President and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, then needs to be approved in a single vote of consent by Parliament.

After the President and Commissioners have been approved by Parliament, they are formally appointed by the Council, acting by a qualified majority. In the event of a substantial portfolio change during the Commission's term of office, the filling of a vacancy or the appointment of a new Commissioner following the accession of a new member state, the Commissioners concerned is heard again before the relevant committees.