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End of term lecture with Professor Dr. Frédéric Mérand

Presentation of the newly released book “The Political Commissioner: A European Ethnography”

On Tuesday the 7th of December, Dr. Frédéric Mérand gave the end of term lecture for EUCS and EUS students, in which he presented his newly released book "The Political Commissioner: A European Ethnography".

After being introduced to the students by Dr. Uwe Puetter, Dr. Mérand talked about some key aspects of his 5-year-long observation of Pierre Moscovici´s cabinet as well as some anecdotal stories of everyday life in the Commission´s offices.

Much of his presentation was dedicated to the importance of what he calls "doing politics", especially in the context of the Commission where limitations and rigid structures make political work difficult. Dr. Mérand spoke about concrete examples in which politics do not have a space to move in, and where bipartisanship becomes evident.

In addition to that, he also shared very insightful pictures of the cabinet´s offices, the politically charged art that decorated the hallways, as well as the cafeteria space where different people meet and discuss in a more informal way.

Overall, Dr. Frédéric Mérand highlighted both the difficulties and the efforts of individuals in the Commission to develop a more political space within it. Which is, according to him, done by expanding the room in which decisions can be made in what he calls, the "consensus-making machine".

To wrap up the session, there was a discussion in which the attendants were able to ask some questions about Mérand’s experience while observing the Commission and bring up some of their own thoughts in regard to the Commission´s role and functioning within the EU.

by Valentina Schulz Fontealba