The overall role of the Commission is to promote the general interests of the EU. It consists of 27 Commissioners, one from each Member State, who are responsible for separate policy areas.
The Commission functions as a college with a chairman deciding which Commissioner is responsible for a certain policy area. The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is also a member of the Commission and is one of six Vice-Presidents of the Commission.
The Commission is appointed for a period of five years and must be independent of national interests. The European Parliament has the possibility to reject or approve the whole group of Commissioners.
Once a week (usually Wednesday) the President, the Vice-Presidents and the Commissioners meet to discuss relevant issues on the EU agenda. Decisions are made on the basis of simple majority, but unanimity is sought. As a main rule, it is the Commission as a whole which is responsible for a decision and not the individual Commissioner.
The Commission also has the right of initiative. This means, it is only the Commission that can put forward a proposal for new legislation in the EU. Furthermore, it is the task of the Commission to monitor that the Member States live up to their obligations vis-à-vis the EU.
Read more about the Commission