This is an old - not maintained - article of the AEIOU.
In the Austria-Forum you find an updated version of this article in the new AEIOU.
European Commission, one of the principal organs of the European Union, consists, as of 1999, of 20 members (2 each from Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom, one each from the other ten member countries of the Union, including Austria). The President of the European Commission is selected by the governments of the EU member states. The members of the Commission are appointed by the President of the Commission for a term of office of five years. These appointments require approval by the European Parliament and confirmation by the governments of member states. The members of the European Commission each have their respective portfolios but decide as a panel. The European Commission is independent of the member governments and can only be removed from office through a vote of no confidence on the part of the European Parliament. The European Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and supervises their respect on the part of member states. In the area of legislation the Commission has the right of initiative and enjoys equal rights with the member governments in making proposals on matters of intergovernmental concern. As the Union's executive body the Commission prepares implementing regulations regarding decisions, ensures implementation of the Treaty provisions, and manages the EU budget. Most of the offices of the European Commission are located in Brussels, Belgium, with some in Luxembourg. It has approximately 15 000 employees, who are assigned to 36 Directorates-General and Specialised Services. Austria's EU Commissioner, F. Fischler has been responsible for agriculture since 1995 and, since 1999, also for fisheries.