International bureaucracies consist of the permanent secretariats of international organizations (IOs). They are organizationally separate from the general assemblies (councils of ministers) of IOs and have formal autonomy vis-à-vis the member-states, often codifi ed in staff regulations. International bureaucracies typically have fi xed locations, have a formalized division of labour vis-à-vis the general assembly, hold regular meetings, and are staffed mostly with permanent personnel recruited on the principle of merit, sometimes supplemented with a more fl exible set of contracted temporary staff. One essential element is that the staff have taken an oath of undivided and primary loyalty towards the international bureaucracy. With respect to formal organization, they are vertically specialized bureaucracies, often with an administrative leader at the top. The European Commission (Commission) differs from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and World Trade Organization (WTO) secretariats by having its political leadership organized outside the Council of Ministers, thus being formally independent of member-state preferences and the inherited intergovernmental order.