How is the European Commission's performance rated since 2014?

by michael rogers

Of course, all MC fellows think well of the Commission - after all, it provided the means to radically impact your career - for the better ... This Commission has a budget of nearly 1 trillion EUR of which well under 10% went to support R&D. That does not sound very much but it is a long way from the 750M euro of the first Framework Programme in the 1980's. The progress of R&D as a European issue to now 4th place on priority ranking, is undeniable.

EURACTIV is a European information service that reports daily on stories and progress on EU issues. Occasionally it undertakes a survey of its readers in all MS to see how they rate the Commission, Commissioners and possible follow ups. This morning in Brussels they presented their results. The text below is from them. 

Margrethe Vestager is the best Commissioner on Jean-Claude Juncker’s team and should be the next President of the EU executive, according to a Europe-wide online survey unveiled today by public affairs and communications agency BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe) and media partner EURACTIV.

The ‘European Commission 2014-2019 Scoreboard’ survey invited respondents to give their verdict on the performance of each individual Commissioner – ranking them from 0 to 10 – and taking account of their initial objectives. Competition chief Vestager, the only Commissioner to achieve a score above 50 percent (5.02/10), is also a strong favourite to take over the Presidency of the new Commission this autumn, despite not being an official party candidate for the job ahead of the European elections.

The Dane comes just ahead of Federica Mogherini, Vice-President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, with 49.6 percent in the #ECscoreboard ranking, followed by Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President, with 46.9 percent and Cecilia Malmström, Trade Commissioner, with 44.7 percent. Jean-Claude Juncker, the Commission President, is the fifth highest ranked in the list, with a score of 44.4 percent.

At the other end of the scale is Tibor Navrascics, the face of the EU’s Erasmus+ programme and Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport: his performance is graded at 19 percent, just below Neven Mimica, the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, with 20.6 percent.

Respondents were also invited to rank the performance of former Commissioner Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator, who earns an approval rating of 57 percent.

Nearly 1,800 stakeholders from Brussels and beyond took part in the survey, which was conducted online between 9 October and 3 December 2018.

Other headline findings from the 20-question survey:

Ø  Overall performance of the Juncker Commission: 46 percent

Ø  Should the next Commission President be a woman? Should be the best person for the job, regardless of gender, 74 percent; Should be a woman, 23 percent

Ø  Who should be the next President of the European Commission? Margrethe Vestager (20 percent), Alexander Stubb (7 percent), Frans Timmermans (6 percent), Michel Barnier (5 percent), Angela Merkel (5 percent), Manfred Weber (4 percent)

Ø  What should the next Cmmission’s top three priorities be? Environment and climate (38 percent), Make the EU more democratic (28 percent), Migration (24 percent)

Ø  How does the Juncker Commissioner compare with its predecessor: Better 41 percent; Worse 34 percent

Ø  How does the Juncker Commission compare with your national government? Better 42 percent, Worse 31 percent

Ø  Should the Commission President continue to be chosen reflecting the outcome of the European Parliament elections and ‘Spitzenkandidaten’ process: Yes 44 percent, No 40 percent.

Ø  Did the Commission’s cluster system work? Yes, and it should be continued 23 percent, No, it should be dropped 32 percent

Ø  Is it time for an equal gender balance in the Commission? Yes 54 percent, No 28 percent

Ø  Is it time for more ethnic diversity in the Commission? Yes 49 percent, No 32 percent

Ø  Should the number of Commissioners be reduced in the next mandate? Yes 58 percent, No 29 percent

Nationals from all 28 Member States and further afield participated in the #ECscoreboard survey. The three largest countries by population (UK, France and Germany) accounted for the highest number of responses. Nearly 40 percent of the feedback for the survey came from respondents living in Belgium, at the heart of the EU and host of its major institutions.

Karen Massin, CEO BCW Brussels, commented: “We hope that you will find the findings fascinating – we certainly do. The results provide valuable insights from a wide range of actors and influencers, including business, officials, trade associations, media, NGOs, think tanks and academia. We hope that the findings will inform the next Commission’s mandate and set-up, as well as providing food for thought as the new European Parliament prepares for its hearings with Commissioners-designate.”

“Europeans dream of a continent that is more climate-friendly and socially just,” added Dan Luca, Senior Director at EURACTIV. “Climate policies at the EU level will be a central element of the next five-year agenda. The survey results confirm citizens' trust in the European institutions, but key issues, such as the Commission’s cluster system, gender balance in the Commission and the number of Commissioners, need to be addressed.”

Apart from women being well represented in the best performing Commissioners league table, it is notable that they are absent from the worst performing - which given the dire overall score is perhaps more telling. It is equally regrettable that only one Commissioner gained a rating >50%.  Michel Barnier achieved the highest rating for a job well done - nearly 60% but is well down the list as apossible for the next President of the EU.

The Cluster system, whereby Commissioner soperate as a group in importnat policy areas such as environment, received a mixed review. For management it is rated as a progressive step. However, journalists seem less that content that the spokespersons for each Commissioner speak with one voice on clustered issues. One can argue that it is one small area where the Commission message is coordinated and clear. 

Another irony is the seeming lack of Democracy in the EC. This is rated as important as an issue. However, there is little support for the Spitzenkandidat idea whereby the EP (of elected represetnatives) nominate the next President of the EC to the Council of (elected) Minister Heads of State... 

And iof you enjoy surveys - at the forthcoming MCAA GA in Vienna you wil have the chance to comment on this News Service. 


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