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Political leadership offers an exceptionally important vehicle for democratic control in modem political systems. In national political systems this may be exercised by ministers. In the European Community the closest equivalent to a national minister is the commissioner. How well equipped are commissioners to exercise political leadership? This article examines the backgrounds and careers of all 76 commissioners, past and present, and argues that a ‘democratic deficit’ within the Commission is at least as important as the democratic deficit more conventionally associated with the demand for increased powers for the European Parliament.