Chapter 1: Introduction: what makes the Juncker Commission interesting?
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This chapter argues that the Commission of President Jean-Claude Juncker was most interesting because of its, and his, ambition, even more so than the results the Commission had. This is unusual as we remember Commission Presidents for their policy and reform outcomes. Most notably President Delors is remembered for his role in laying the foundations of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but even later with President Barroso being remembered for his role in reforming the EMU in the midst of the financial crisis in the 2010s. When it comes to President Juncker, we remember his ambition to re-frame the Commission and its working method in order to act more politically. There were also high levels of reform ambition in both the EMU and Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) - understandably so as he managed the College during the refugee crisis in 2015. However, results were not satisfactory as key files did not make it through the Council of the EU. Again, what is left to analyse is the ambition. Still, ambition of supranational actors, especially the Commission, is not a new topic. Not only was it a topic of many EU integration theories, it is also a topic of interest for politicians, especially those Euro-sceptic ones who claim that the Commission has too much ambition and power in the EU. This chapter thus outlines not only the reason why Juncker Commission is interesting but also why a study on the Commission’s ambition is relevant at this moment in time. Finally, the chapter claims that a new analytical framework is needed to study the ambition of the Commission.