President of the European Commission

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The President of the European Commission is the head of the European Commission ― the executive branch of the European Union (EU) ― the most powerful officeholder in the EU.[2] The President is responsible for allocating portfolios to members of the Commission and can reshuffle or dismiss them if needed. He determines the Commission's policy agenda and all the legislative proposals it produces (the Commission is the only body that can propose EU laws).

The Commission President also represents the EU abroad, although he does this alongside the President of the European Council and the High Representative (which sit in his Commission). However the President, unlike a normal head of government, does not form foreign policy, command troops or raise taxes as these are largely outside the remit of the EU.

The post was established in 1958 and is appointed by the European Council and European Parliament for five year terms. Once elected, he, along with his Commission, is responsible to Parliament which can censure him. The current President is José Manuel Barroso, who took office in October 2004. He is a member of the European People's Party (EPP) and is the former Prime Minister of Portugal. Barroso is the eleventh President and in 2009 was re-elected for a further five years. His vice president, as of 2010, is High Representative Catherine Ashton.


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