The European Commission

The European Commission is the executive body of the EU. It consists of a college of commissioners. The President of the European Commission is appointed by the European Council. In turn, he/she appoints other Commissioners for a five-year term. All appointments must be approved by the European Parliament.

The European Commission proposes and enforces legislation, sets objectives and priorities for EU action, manages and implements EU policies and the EU budget. In certain policy areas, it also represents the EU externally, notably on migration and trade issues.

For issues related to Southern Mediterranean countries, one of the most relevant Commissioners is the one responsible for the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, supported by a Directorate General called DG NEAR. Another one is the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, supported by the DG for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME), in charge of negotiating bilateral agreements such as those dealing with readmission of irregular migrants.

What about funding?

At the European Commission, the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) manages the funding provided to the countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), including a Civil Society Facility created in 2011 to support civil society organisations.

The Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) administers thematic funds as well as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), a fund specifically directed toward human rights NGOs and civil society without government approval or intervention. Grants are allocated through global calls for proposals announced on the DG DEVCO website or through EU delegation. Each delegation further disposes of an emergency fund for human rights defenders at risk.