The European Commission proposes new legislation to the Council and the European Parliament. Its preparatory work is based on an annual work programme. For major issues, the Commission often drafts a so-called Green Paper or a communication before launching the legislative process to stimulate political debate on the matter. It often also publishes a White Paper containing concrete proposals for action.
Within the Commission, laws are drafted by Directorates-General. Experts, Member States and various stakeholders are consulted for their views and opinions on the drafts. The proposals are finalised in the Directorate-General responsible for the matter, in collaboration with the Commission’s Legal Service. The legislative proposals are published as COM documents which are then debated by the Council and the European Parliament.
The Commission also enforces European law and, in the field of agriculture, manages the agricultural markets in the Union. The Commission enforces European law, for example, by monitoring the implementation of EU directives or by carrying out checks on the implementation of different support schemes in the Member States. If deficiencies are found in the implementation of support systems, Member States may be imposed financial sanctions. Agricultural markets in the Union are managed through a committee procedure (also known as ‘comitology’). The committee makes decisions on intervention buying and the level of export refunds or domestic support.
The Commission is divided into departments known as Directorates-General (DGs) which are responsible for their respective fields of policy. Each Directorate-General is led by a Director-General who reports to the President of the Commission.