Centre news
22.03.2021

The Loop - The European Commission is no longer technocratic – it takes public opinion seriously

Often labelled technocratic and expertise-driven, the Commission’s ‘unelected bureaucrats’ take public opinion seriously. In crises, the Commission uses agenda-priorities to respond to citizens’ cues, write Christel Koop, Christine Reh and Edoardo Bressanelli.

The EU has become increasingly visible and contested over the past decades as it has faced intense political pressure and undergone a string of existential crises. Europe’s citizens voiced their concerns about and dissatisfaction with the EU. Studies have shown that domestic pressure has made the EU's ‘electorally connected’ institutions more responsive. Yet, we still know little about how politicisation has affected the Union's non‐majoritarian institutions. The authors conducted interviews in line with an earlier research on public opinion and the Commission. The result: Long gone are the days of a technocratic European Commission, shielded from public pressure by permissive consensus. Yet, contestation has not constrained Europe’s executive.

This blog post by the ECPR's Political Science Blog is based on the journal article Agenda‐setting under pressure: Does domestic politics influence the European Commission? by the European Journal of Political Research.

Read the full blog post here