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The European Commission: Where now? Where next? 

Jean-Claude Juncker, the first Commission President to be elected via the Spitzenkandidatenprocess, declared that his would be a ‘political Commission’. A series of internal changes were intended to ensure the effective delivery of his ten policy priorities. By promoting collaboration among Commissioners through project teams headed by Vice Presidents, these reforms sought to strengthen the Commission’s steering capacity, improve policy coordination and overcome administrative silos.

Drawing on an online survey, interviews and focus groups conducted by the research team, this project examines these changes and their impact. It investigates the views of staff at all levels of the organisation on the ‘political Commission’ and the ‘new ways of working’. It also examines the backgrounds and careers of Commission staff, their motivations for joining the institution, their beliefs about the Commission and the wider EU, and their experience of the Commission as a workplace, putting accepted wisdoms about the people who work for the Commission to the empirical test. Comparison with data from our earlier projects, The European Commission in Question conducted in 2008-09, and The European Commission: Facing the Future in 2014, makes it possible to map how the Commission has changed over time.

The findings will inform contributions to scholarship on the European Commission and the wider literature on public administration, bureaucracies, and bureaucrats. Results on key themes continue to be reported in research briefings and presentations.

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