Beyond the myth of nationality: Analysing networks within the European commission
Literature on the European Commission refers to the influence of nationality in the functioning of the Commission and, in particular, to the reliance on networks based on nationality, but it fails to provide much evidence apart from anecdotes. This empirical study takes a systematic approach by applying concepts from organisational network analysis to examine the networking patterns of Commission officials and to explore the effect of nationality therein. The data clearly show that nationality is not a significant factor in shaping officials' task-related informal networks. While variables related to nationality and socialisation fail to explain the variation, the size of the member state in terms of the number of officials it has and whether the contacts occur within the Directorate-General determine whether an official relies on compatriots for information and advice. The organisational structure of the Commission renders nationality irrelevant for its daily work.