As an inevitable result of the accession of new member states and institutional reforms, today's European Commission is less and less like the one that was created in 1957. Having expanded from 9 commissioners at its first meeting in 1958 to 27 in 2007, its role has evolved, as this Column shows, and is set to evolve further since, from 2014 onwards, it will have a membership of only two-thirds of the number of member states, with a rotation system and a redistribution of portfolios among commissioners during their mandates. If we add to this the creation of the function of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who will also be a member of the Commission, there is a risk, says Jean-François Drevet, that we may find ourselves in an unstable system with a college of commissioners that is less independent of member-state governments, and hence potentially less active and undoubtedly less likely to drive European construction than the Commission in its original form.
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