The Denationalisation of the cabinets in the European Commission: a research note

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Series Details No.25, 2008
Publication Date 26/11/2008
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The cabinets of the European Commission are seen to play a crucial role in the policy-making process. So far, however, they have in many respects remained ‘black boxes’. In this paper we ‘unpack’ the demographic composition in terms of nationality of the three latest commissions’ cabinets. The standard portrayal of cabinets has been that of national enclaves and points of access. Reforms during the period have required a more multi-national composition. Our study shows that not only have the new rules been implemented: the new formal requirements have become over-fulfilled, and increasingly so. In 2004 96% of the cabinets contained more nationalities than formally prescribed and 57% of the personnel were non-compatriots of their respective commissioners. Based on studies of comparable phenomena, it is reason to believe that decomposition of a particular demographical cluster within an organisational unit reduces the impact of such demographical factors on officials’ decision behaviour.

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