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Critically analyse the role of the European Commission in the First (EC) Pillar of the EU. Illustrate your essay with specific examples.

This question requires an examination of the European Commission in relation to the First Pillar. To begin, a brief description of the institutions of the European Commission and the First Pillar will be necessary. This will be followed by an analysis of the democratic nature of the European Commission. Following this, the failure of the Commission to successfully implement a 'social Europe' in First Pillar areas will be examined and explained. Next an analysis of Common Agriculture, the most contentious First Pillar policy will be identified. Another area that shows the failings of the Commission in this area is Asylum and Immigration and this will be tackled finally.



The European Commission is the structure within the EU that proposes and enforces legislation in the group of policy areas on which it overrides national governments; known as the First Pillar. Examining the Commission the arguments that it has a democratic deficit are most compelling. Jacques Delors claimed that the Commission would ensure a 'social model' for Europe and that whilst ensuring certain basic liberal economic reforms, would guarantee basic traditional social democratic rights. However, the increase of liberal reforms was directly proportional to the decrease in a social model in the First Pillar policy areas. Policies such as the Common Agricultural Policy highlight the failure, as policies intended to decrease poverty, actually serve to increase it. The contentious area of Asylum and Immigration also highlights this, as it shows the extent to which in attempting to apply policies of the right, whilst incorporating left support, the Commission and the EU has been a target of attack from both ends of the political spectrum. In the final analysis, a democratic deficit in the European Commission means that in the First Pillar policy arena the 'social model' is failing.

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