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What the European Commission does in strategy and policy

Principal roles in strategy and policy

The European Commission plays an active role in developing the EU's overall strategy and in designing and implementing EU policies. It evaluates and reports on its policies on a regular basis.

Setting strategic priorities

Along with the other main EU institutions, the European Commission develops the overall strategy and political direction of the EU.

Every five years, at the beginning of a new Commission term, the president of the Commission also determines the political priorities for its upcoming term of office.

The Commission turns these priorities into concrete actions on a yearly basis through an annual work programme, which sets out a plan of action for the next twelve months.

Find out more about the European Commission's strategic priorities and goals, international strategies and relations with non-EU countries.

Developing and implementing policies

The European Commission develops and implements EU policies by

  • proposing laws to the European Parliament and Council of the European Union
  • helping EU countries implement EU legislation
  • managing the EU's budget and allocating funding
  • ensuring that EU law is complied with together with the Court of Justice
  • representing the EU outside Europe together with the EU's diplomatic service, the European External Action Service

EU policies are designed to bring benefits to citizens, businesses and other stakeholders in the EU. Commission initiatives for new policies have to be agreed on internally according to a set procedure.

Better regulation tools ensure that each new policy is based on evidence and best available practice.

Find out how the European Commission takes decisions on policies.


The European Commission plans and reports on its work in a yearly cycle known as the strategic planning and programming cycle. The reports resulting from each cycle are published regularly by the European Commission.

Annual activity reports

Annual management and performance reports


The Commission continuously evaluates whether EU policies have met the needs of European business and citizens. Evaluations assess a policy for effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value. Evaluations are communicated to the public via evaluation roadmaps.

Evaluating policies