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PEU Database

The database on the European Commission provides an overview of the European Commission’s historical development from the start of the first Hallstein Commission in 1958 to the Juncker Commission in 2018. It was part of the multi-annual project ‘Position formation in the EU Commission’ (PEU) at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).

With the rise in scale and scope of the European Commission, research and literature on the nature of the institution has increased considerably. What is yet still missing is structured information how the European Commission developed in its organizational and staff composition over a longer period of time and what sectoral patterns emerge. This continuously updated and comprehensive database attempts to close this gap.

The database provides three different perspectives on the Commission: information on the Commission staff (‘Persons Data’), on the administrative structure and size of the Directorates-General (‘DG Data’) and a localization of policies in the administrative structure of the EU Commission (‘DG nomenclature’).

 Persons Data’ lists available information about all 448 persons who have been active as Commissioners or Directors-General from 1958 to 2018. This includes details about names, dates of birth, gender, nationality, party affiliation, DGs, Commissions, dates of entry and exit for all positions a person served in at the EU Commission as well as information regarding a person’s professional background and further career. ‘Persons Data’ provides an historical overview, and allows comparisons primarily on the staff composition of Commission DGs.

‘DG Data’ provides an overview to the administrative structure of the different Commission DGs. It gives details about all Directorates-General of the Juncker Commission, including official name, personnel numbers, names and number of units (Units) and the name and number of directorates they each compromised in previous Commissions. This perspective inspires comparing changes in portfolio organisation and salience during the integration process.

‘DG nomenclature’ deals with shifts in the Commission's portfolios over the history of EU Integration. Neither the names nor the responsibilities of individual portfolios in the Commission have been constant. This section thus enables to understand the administrative positioning of each portfolio over the course of history.

To compose the database a multitude of sources were evaluated and included. The collected data primarily stem from official organigrammes of Commission constellations taken from the institution’s website and its Historical Archives in Brussels, Fabio Franchino’s dataset on Commission portfolios since 1958, and CVs provided mainly by the Commission or personal websites.

For a more detailed list of sources and substance of the database, please see the ‘User’s manual to the PEU database’ on this website.

Exemplary Findings:

Graph 1: Party family of Commissioners

Graph 2: Development of Directorates within the Commission DG's 

Graph 3: Technocratism and Power Index by Commission