This introductory chapter begin with a discussion of the resignation of the Santer Commission. On 19 March 1999, for the first time in the history of the European project, the twenty-member College of Commissioners resigned before the end of its term. This took place under the presidency of the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jacques Santer, after the submission to the European Parliament of a Report by a Committee of Independent Experts, working under the auspices of the Parliament and the Commission, which substantiated allegations of fraud, mismanagement and nepotism. If the EU fails in terms of responsibility to the extent implied by the Committee's report, it is necessary to understand why and how this came to be and why it is important that the problem should be dealt with. What exactly is political responsibility, why is it an important feature in any system of governance, and why should its absence trouble us? Finally, it is necessary to think about what can be done about it and what needs to change if the problem is to be addressed. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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