Small member states and the European commission

Timeframe: Completed
Project Manager: Fredrik Langdal

The European Union (EU)'s institutional framework relies on a delicate balance between small, medium and large Member States – a balance that has come under intense scrutiny in the Convention on the Future of Europe and the enlargement process. Within the decision-making triangle, the big states have traditionally favoured the Council to wield their power, while the small states have tended to regard the Commission as their closest ally.

The incentives of small states to seek close relations with the Commission stem from the combination of its general role in the institutional balance as guardian of the "common interest" and its specific functions from drafting to implementing EU legislation. The independence of the Commission offers small states a potential means to counterbalance the power of the "big states". The over all purpose of the project has been to investigate if the Commission really is the small member states' best friend.