The Berlaymont is the iconic 13-story cross-shaped building that serves as the headquarters of the Commission. Over 2,000 of the Commission’s roughly 21,000 Brussels-based staff are based in the building. The Commission is the executive body of the EU responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the Union.
There are currently 28 members of the Commission, one per member state. The sitting Commission took office in 2014 under the presidency of former Luxembourg Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker. At the time, Corporate Europe Observatory raised serious concerns over the appointment of several Commissioners with potential conflicts of interest that make them unsuitable for their portfolios.
The number one target for lobbyists operating in the city, Commissioners and Directors-General (department heads) have been required to publish their lobby meetings since late 2014. However, the rules would need to be far stricter and more extensive to give us a full picture of lobbying at the Commission: details on thousands of meetings with lobbyists that happen below top-level are not disclosed.
Inside the Berlaymont are the offices of the President, Commissioners and their cabinets (immediate appointed teams).
The rest of the staff are split into departments called directorates- general and are spread mostly throughout the European quarter. The office of the President and the meeting room of 28 Commissioners is on the top floor, where the weekly meetings of the Commissioners take place on Wednesday mornings. Before the construction of this building in the 1960s, this was the site of a monastery and girls school, run by the Dames de Berlaymont, a 300 year old religious order.