European Council

Last updated

European Council
Council of the European Union.svg
Emblem
Formation1961 (informally)
2009 (formally)
Type Institution of the European Union
Location
Charles Michel
Website consilium.europa.eu

The European Council (informally EUCO) is a collegiate body that defines the overall political directions and priorities of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy also takes part in its meetings. [1] Established as an informal summit in 1975, the European Council was formalised as an institution in 2009 upon the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. Its current president is Charles Michel, former Prime Minister of Belgium.

Contents

Scope

While the European Council has no legislative power, it is a strategic (and crisis-solving) body that provides the union with general political directions and priorities, and acts as a collective presidency. The European Commission remains the sole initiator of legislation, but the European Council is able to provide an impetus to guide legislative policy. [2] [3]

The meetings of the European Council, still commonly referred to as EU summits, are chaired by its president and take place at least twice every six months; [1] usually in the Europa building in Brussels. [4] [5] Decisions of the European Council are taken by consensus, except where the Treaties provide otherwise. [6]

History

The European Council officially gained the status of an EU institution after the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007, distinct from the Council of the European Union (Council of Ministers). Before that, the first summits of EU heads of state or government were held in February and July 1961 (in Paris and Bonn respectively). They were informal summits of the leaders of the European Community, and were started due to then-French President Charles de Gaulle's resentment at the domination of supranational institutions (notably the European Commission) over the integration process, but petered out. The first influential summit held, after the departure of de Gaulle, was the Hague summit of 1969, which reached an agreement on the admittance of the United Kingdom into the Community and initiated foreign policy cooperation (the European Political Cooperation) taking integration beyond economics. [1] [7]

A traditional group photo, here taken at the royal palace in Brussels during Belgium's 1987 presidency Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F075760-0010, Brussel, Sitzung des Europarates.jpg
A traditional group photo, here taken at the royal palace in Brussels during Belgium's 1987 presidency

The summits were only formalised in the period between 1974 and 1988. At the December summit in Paris in 1974, following a proposal from then-French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, it was agreed that more high level, political input was needed following the "empty chair crisis" and economic problems. [8] The inaugural European Council, as it became known, was held in Dublin on 10 and 11 March 1975 during Ireland's first Presidency of the Council of Ministers. In 1987, it was included in the treaties for the first time (the Single European Act) and had a defined role for the first time in the Maastricht Treaty. At first only a minimum of two meetings per year were required, which resulted in an average of three meetings per year being held for the 1975–1995 period. Since 1996, the number of meetings were required to be minimum four per year. For the latest 2008–2014 period, this minimum was well exceeded, by an average of seven meetings being held per year. The seat of the Council was formalised in 2002, basing it in Brussels. Three types of European Councils exist: Informal, Scheduled and Extraordinary. While the informal meetings are also scheduled 1½ years in advance, they differ from the scheduled ordinary meetings by not ending with official Council conclusions, as they instead end by more broad political Statements on some cherry picked policy matters. The extraordinary meetings always end with official Council conclusions - but differs from the scheduled meetings by not being scheduled more than a year in advance, as for example in 2001 when the European Council gathered to lead the European Union's response to the 11 September attacks. [1] [7]

Some meetings of the European Council—and, before the European Council was formalised, meetings of the heads of government—are seen by some as turning points in the history of the European Union. For example: [1]

Press conference with European Commissioner Jacques Delors and Dutch ministers Wim Kok, Hans van den Broek and Ruud Lubbers, after the European Council of 9-10 December 1991 in Maastricht, which lead to the Maastricht Treaty (1992) 1991, persconferentie Eurotop, MECC Maastricht.jpg
Press conference with European Commissioner Jacques Delors and Dutch ministers Wim Kok, Hans van den Broek and Ruud Lubbers, after the European Council of 9-10 December 1991 in Maastricht, which lead to the Maastricht Treaty (1992)

As such, the European Council had already existed before it gained the status as an institution of the European Union with the entering into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, but even after it had been mentioned in the treaties (since the Single European Act) it could only take political decisions, not formal legal acts. However, when necessary, the Heads of State or Government could also meet as the Council of Ministers and take formal decisions in that role. Sometimes, this was even compulsory, e.g. Article 214(2) of the Treaty establishing the European Community provided (before it was amended by the Treaty of Lisbon) that ‘the Council, meeting in the composition of Heads of State or Government and acting by a qualified majority, shall nominate the person it intends to appoint as President of the Commission’ (emphasis added); the same rule applied in some monetary policy provisions introduced by the Maastricht Treaty (e.g. Article 109j TEC). In that case, what was politically part of a European Council meeting was legally a meeting of the Council of Ministers. When the European Council, already introduced into the treaties by the Single European Act, became an institution by virtue of the Treaty of Lisbon, this was no longer necessary, and the "Council [of the European Union] meeting in the composition of the Heads of State or Government", was replaced in these instances by the European Council now taking formal legally binding decisions in these cases (Article 15 of the Treaty on European Union). [10]

The Treaty of Lisbon made the European Council a formal institution distinct from the (ordinary) Council of the EU, and created the present longer term and full-time presidency. As an outgrowth of the Council of the EU, the European Council had previously followed the same Presidency, rotating between each member state. While the Council of the EU retains that system, the European Council established, with no change in powers, a system of appointing an individual (without them being a national leader) for a two-and-a-half-year term—which can be renewed for the same person only once. [11] Following the ratification of the treaty in December 2009, the European Council elected the then-Prime Minister of Belgium Herman Van Rompuy as its first permanent president (resigning from Belgian Prime Minister). [12]

Powers and functions

The European Council is an official institution of the EU, mentioned by the Lisbon Treaty as a body which "shall provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development". Essentially it defines the EU's policy agenda and has thus been considered to be the motor of European integration. [1] Beyond the need to provide "impetus", the council has developed further roles: to "settle issues outstanding from discussions at a lower level", to lead in foreign policy — acting externally as a "collective Head of State", "formal ratification of important documents" and "involvement in the negotiation of the treaty changes". [4] [7]

Since the institution is composed of national leaders, it gathers the executive power of the member states and has thus a great influence in high-profile policy areas as for example foreign policy. It also exercises powers of appointment, such as appointment of its own President, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the President of the European Central Bank. It proposes, to the European Parliament, a candidate for President of the European Commission. Moreover, the European Council influences police and justice planning, the composition of the commission, matters relating to the organisation of the rotating Council presidency, the suspension of membership rights, and changing the voting systems through the Passerelle Clause. Although the European Council has no direct legislative power, under the "emergency brake" procedure, a state outvoted in the Council of Ministers may refer contentious legislation to the European Council. However, the state may still be outvoted in the European Council. [11] [13] [14] Hence with powers over the supranational executive of the EU, in addition to its other powers, the European Council has been described by some as the Union's "supreme political authority". [4] [7] [11] [15]

Composition

The European Council consists of the heads of state or government of the member states, alongside its own President and the Commission President (both non-voting). The meetings used to be regularly attended by the national foreign minister as well, and the Commission President likewise accompanied by another member of the commission. However, since the Treaty of Lisbon, this has been discontinued, as the size of the body had become somewhat large following successive accessions of new Member States to the Union. [1] [4] Meetings can also include other invitees, such as the President of the European Central Bank, as required. The Secretary-General of the Council attends, and is responsible for organisational matters, including minutes. The President of the European Parliament also attends to give an opening speech outlining the European Parliament's position before talks begin. [1] [4]

Additionally, the negotiations involve a large number of other people working behind the scenes. Most of those people, however, are not allowed to the conference room, except for two delegates per state to relay messages. At the push of a button members can also call for advice from a Permanent Representative via the "Antici Group" in an adjacent room. The group is composed of diplomats and assistants who convey information and requests. Interpreters are also required for meetings as members are permitted to speak in their own languages. [1] As the composition is not precisely defined, some states which have a considerable division of executive power can find it difficult to decide who should attend the meetings. While an MEP, Alexander Stubb argued that there was no need for the President of Finland to attend Council meetings with or instead of the Prime Minister of Finland (who was head of European foreign policy). [16] In 2008, having become Finnish Foreign Minister, Stubb was forced out of the Finnish delegation to the emergency council meeting on the Georgian crisis because the President wanted to attend the high-profile summit as well as the Prime Minister (only two people from each country could attend the meetings). This was despite Stubb being Chair-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe at the time which was heavily involved in the crisis. Problems also occurred in Poland where the President of Poland and the Prime Minister of Poland were of different parties and had a different foreign policy response to the crisis. [17] A similar situation arose in Romania between President Traian Băsescu and Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu in 2007–2008 and again in 2012 with Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who both opposed the president.

Eurozone summits

A number of ad hoc meetings of Heads of State or Government of the Euro area countries were held in 2010 and 2011 to discuss the Sovereign Debt crisis. It was agreed in October 2011 that they should meet regularly twice a year (with extra meetings if needed). This will normally be at the end of a European Council meeting and according to the same format (chaired by the President of the European Council and including the President of the commission), but usually restricted to the (currently 19) Heads of State or Government of countries whose currency is the euro.

President

The President of the European Council is elected by the European Council by a qualified majority for a once-renewable term of two and a half years. [18] The President must report to the European Parliament after each European Council meeting. [4] [15]

The states of the European Union by the European affiliations of their leaders, as of 16 May 2021
Does not account for coalitions. Key to colours is as follows:
.mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}
European People's Party/EPP Group (9)
(AT, CY, DE, GR, HR, LV, RO, SI, SK)
Renew Europe (ALDE, EDP, LREM) (7)
(BE, CZ, EE, IE, FR, LU, NL)
Party of European Socialists (6)
(DK, ES, FI, MT, PT, SE)
Independent (4)
(BG, HU, IT, LT)
European Conservatives and Reformists Party (1)
(PL) Party affiliations in the European Council (18 December 2017).png
The states of the European Union by the European affiliations of their leaders, as of 16 May 2021
Does not account for coalitions. Key to colours is as follows: (AT, CY, DE, GR, HR, LV, RO, SI, SK)
   Renew Europe (ALDE, EDP, LREM) (7)
(BE, CZ, EE, IE, FR, LU, NL) (DK, ES, FI, MT, PT, SE)
   Independent (4)
(BG, HU, IT, LT) (PL)

The post was created by the Treaty of Lisbon and was subject to a debate over its exact role. Prior to Lisbon, the Presidency rotated in accordance with the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. [4] [15] The role of that President-in-Office was in no sense (other than protocol) equivalent to an office of a head of state, merely a primus inter pares (first among equals) role among other European heads of government. The President-in-Office was primarily responsible for preparing and chairing the Council meetings, and had no executive powers other than the task of representing the Union externally. Now the leader of the Council Presidency country can still act as president when the permanent president is absent.

Members

   European People's Party (9 + 1 non-voting from the EU institution)

   Renew Europe [ citation needed ] (7 + 1 non-voting from the EU institution)

   Party of European Socialists (6)

   Independent (4)

   European Conservatives and Reformists Party (1)


Council of the EU and European Council.svg

European Council
MemberRepresentativeMemberRepresentativeMemberRepresentative
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European Union
(non-voting)

Member since
1 December 2019

Previous membership
Prime Minister of Belgium 2014–2019


Election 2019
Next by 2022
Vladimir Putin and Charles Michel (2018-01-31) 01 (cropped).jpg
President of the European Council
Charles Michel
(RE/ALDE)
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European Union
(non-voting)

Member since
1 December 2019

Election 2019
Next in 2024
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President of the European Commission
Ursula von der Leyen
(EPP)
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Kingdom of Belgium
België/Belgique/Belgien [a 1]
(2.58% of population) [a 2]

Member since
1 October 2020


Next by 2024
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Prime Minister
Alexander De Croo
(RE/ALDEOpen Vld)
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Republic of Bulgaria
България/Bulgaria
(1.55% of population)

Member since
12 May 2021


2021
Next in 2021
Stefan Yanev.jpg
Prime Minister
Stefan Yanev
(Ind. – Ind.)
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Czech Republic
Česko
(2.35% of population)

Member since
13 December 2017


Election 2017
Next in 2021
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Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš
(RE/ALDEANO)
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Kingdom of Denmark
Danmark
(1.30% of population)

Member since
26 June 2019


Election 2019
Next by 2023
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Prime Minister
Mette Frederiksen
(PESS)
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Federal Republic of Germany
Deutschland
(18.54% of population)

Member since
22 November 2005


Election 2005, 2009, 2013, 2017
Next in 2021
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Federal Chancellor
Angela Merkel
(EPPCDU)
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Republic of Estonia
Eesti
(0.30% of population)

Member since
26 January 2021


Next by 2023
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Prime Minister
Kaja Kallas
(RE/ALDEER)
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Ireland
Éire/Ireland
(1.11% of population)

Member since
27 June 2020


Election 2020
Next by 2025
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Taoiseach
Micheál Martin
(RE/ALDEFF)
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Hellenic Republic
Ελλάδα/Elláda
(2.39% of population)

Member since
8 July 2019


Election 2019
Next by 2023
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Prime Minister
Kyriakos Mitsotakis
(EPPND)
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Kingdom of Spain
España
(10.56% of population)

Member since
2 June 2018


Election 2019, 2019
Next by 2023
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Prime Minister
Pedro Sánchez
(PESPSOE)
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French Republic
France
(14.97% of population)

Member since
14 May 2017


Election 2017
Next by 2022
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President of the Republic
Emmanuel Macron
(RE [a 3] LREM)
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Republic of Croatia
Hrvatska
(0.91% of population)

Member since
19 October 2016


Election 2016, 2020
Next in 2024
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Prime Minister
Andrej Plenković
(EPPHDZ)
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Italian Republic
Italia
(13.58% of population)

Member since
13 February 2021


Next by 2023
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Prime Minister
Mario Draghi
(Ind. – Ind.)
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Republic of Cyprus
Κύπρος/Kýpros
(0.20% of population)

Member since
28 February 2013


Election 2013, 2018
Next by 2023
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President of the Republic
Nicos Anastasiades
(EPPDISY)
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Republic of Latvia
Latvija
(0.43% of population)

Member since
23 January 2019


Election 2018
Next by 2022
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Prime Minister
Krišjānis Kariņš
(EPPV)
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Republic of Lithuania
Lietuva
(0.62% of population)

Member since
12 July 2019


Election 2019
Next by 2024
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President of the Republic
Gitanas Nausėda
(Ind. – Ind.)
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Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Luxembourg
(0.14% of population)

Member since
4 December 2013


Election 2013, 2018
Next by 2023
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Prime Minister
Xavier Bettel
(RE/ALDEDP)
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Hungary
Magyarország
(2.18% of population)

Member since
29 May 2010


Election 2010, 2014, 2018
Next by 2022
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Prime Minister
Viktor Orbán
(Ind. – Fidesz)
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Republic of Malta
Malta
(0.11% of population)

Member since
13 January 2020


Next by 2022
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Prime Minister
Robert Abela
(PESPL)
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Kingdom of the Netherlands
Nederland
(3.91% of population)

Member since
14 October 2010


Election 2010, 2012, 2017, 2021
Next by 2025
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Prime Minister
Mark Rutte
(RE/ALDEVVD)
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Republic of Austria
Österreich
(1.98% of population)

Member since
7 January 2020

Previous membership
Federal Chancellor 2017–2019


Election 2019
Next by 2023
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Federal Chancellor
Sebastian Kurz
(EPPÖVP)
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Republic of Poland
Polska
(8.47% of population)

Member since
11 December 2017


Election 2019
Next by 2023
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Prime Minister
Mateusz Morawiecki
(ECRPiS)
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Portuguese Republic
Portugal
(2.30% of population)

Member since
26 November 2015


Election 2019
Next by 2023
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Prime Minister
António Costa
(PESPS)
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Romania
România
(4.31% of population)

Member since
21 December 2014


Election 2014, 2019
Next by 2024
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President
Klaus Iohannis
(EPPPNL [a 4] )
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Republic of Slovenia
Slovenija
(0.47% of population)

Member since
13 March 2020


Previous memberships
Prime Minister 2004–2008, 2012–2013


Next election in 2022
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Prime Minister
Janez Janša
(EPPSDS)
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Slovak Republic
Slovensko
(1.22% of population)

Member since
1 April 2021


Election 2020
Next by 2024

Prime Minister
Eduard Heger
(EPP Group [a 5] OĽANO)
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Republic of Finland
Suomi/Finland
(1.23% of population)

Member since
10 December 2019


Next by 2023
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Prime Minister
Sanna Marin
(PESSDP)
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Kingdom of Sweden
Sverige
(2.30% of population)

Member since
3 October 2014


Election 2014, 2018
Next by 2022
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Prime Minister
Stefan Löfven
(PESSAP)
Notes
  1. Short names used within EU institutions.
  2. Used in the calculation of the qualified majority voting. The share of the total population is based on the decision of the Council of the European Union on Member States populations for 2021
  3. Macron's party La République En Marche! is member of the Renew Europe European Parliament Group. Macron also regularly attends Renew Europe Summits.
  4. Membership in PNL suspended while holding the office of the president.
  5. Officially independent but his party is member of the EPP Group in the European Parliament.


Also partially or fully attending, but not members

President of the European ParliamentHigh Representative of the Union
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European Union

Position held since
3 July 2019


Election 2019
Next by 2021
David Sassoli 2020 (cropped).jpg
President of the European Parliament
David Sassoli
(PES)
Flag of Europe.svg

European Union

Position held since
1 December 2019

Election 2019
Next in 2024
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High Representative of the Union
Josep Borrell
(PES)

Political alliances

Almost all members of the European Council are members of a political party at national level, and most of these are members of a European-level political party or other alliances such as Renew Europe. These frequently hold pre-meetings of their European Council members, prior to its meetings. However, the European Council is composed to represent the EU's states rather than political alliances and decisions are generally made on these lines, though ideological alignment can colour their political agreements and their choice of appointments (such as their president).

The table below outlines the number of leaders affiliated to each alliance and their total voting weight. The map to the right indicates the alignment of each individual country.

AllianceNumber of seats Share of EU population
European People's Party/EPP Group 930.44%
Renew Europe (ALDE, EDP, LREM)725.36%
Party of European Socialists 617.80%
Independent 417.94%
European Conservatives and Reformists Party 18.47%
Total27100%
Number of seats
EPP
40.74%
RE
25.92%
PES
22.22%
Ind
7.41%
ECR
3.70%
Share of population
EPP
34.21%
RE
25.32%
PES
17.71%
Ind
14.27%
ECR
8.49%

Members timeline

Gitanas NausėdaDalia GrybauskaitėValdas AdamkusMario DraghiGiuseppe ConteMario MontiLamberto DiniCarlo Azeglio CiampiGiovanni SpadoliniGordon BajnaiPéter MedgyessyVassiliki Thanou-ChristophilouPanagiotis PikrammenosLucas PapademosXenophon ZolotasIoannis GrivasJan FischerJiří RusnokTihomir OreškovićGeorgi BliznashkiPlamen OresharskiMarin RaykovBrigitte BierleinJürgen TrumpfIndulis EmsisAlexis TsiprasAlexis TsiprasDemetris ChristofiasBoris JohnsonTheresa MayDavid CameronMateusz MorawieckiBeata SzydłoJarosław KaczyńskiKazimierz MarcinkiewiczBrian CowenBertie AhernAlbert ReynoldsCharles HaugheyCharles HaugheyCharles HaugheyJack LynchPetr NečasMirek TopolánekHenry PlumbFrançois-Xavier OrtoliMarjan ŠarecMiro CerarAlenka BratušekAnton RopMark RutteXavier BettelGaston Egmond ThornArtūras PaulauskasIvars GodmanisMicheál MartinBrian CowenEmmanuel MacronJuha SipiläMari KiviniemiMatti VanhaneniAnneli JäätteenmäkiEsko AhoKaja KallasJüri RatasTaavi RõivasAndrus AnsipLars Løkke RasmussenLars Løkke RasmussenAnders Fogh RasmussenAndrej BabišOgnyan GerdzhikovAlexander De CrooSophie WilmèsCharles MichelGuy VerhofstadtPat CoxSimone VeilRomano ProdiGaston ThornCharles MichelGordon BrownTony BlairJames CallaghanHarold WilsonStefan LöfvenGöran PerssonIngvar CarlssonPedro SánchezJosé Luis Rodríguez ZapateroFelipe GonzálezBorut PahorPeter PellegriniRobert FicoRobert FicoAntónio CostaJosé SócratesAntónio GuterresMarek BelkaLeszek MillerWim KokJoop den UylRobert AbelaJoseph MuscatPaolo GentiloniMatteo RenziEnrico LettaRomano ProdiGiuliano AmatoMassimo D'AlemaRomano ProdiGiuliano AmatoBettino CraxiFerenc GyurcsányGeorge PapandreouKonstantinos SimitisAndreas PapandreouAndreas PapandreouGerhard SchröderHelmut SchmidtFrançois HollandeFrançois MitterrandSanna MarinAntti RinnePaavo LipponenMette FrederiksenHelle Thorning-SchmidtPoul Nyrup RasmussenAnker JørgensenBohuslav SobotkaJiří ParoubekStanislav GrossVladimír ŠpidlaTassos PapadopoulosZoran MilanovićSergei StanishevElio Di RupoChristian KernWerner FaymannAlfred GusenbauerViktor KlimaFranz VranitzkyDavid SassoliMartin SchulzJosep BorrellKlaus HänschEnrique Barón CrespoPiet DankertGeorges SpénaleJosep BorrellFederica MogheriniCatherine AshtonJavier SolanaManuel MarínJacques DelorsRoy JenkinsJohn MajorMargaret ThatcherFredrik ReinfeldtMariano RajoyJosé María AznarJanez JanšaJanez JanšaJanez JanšaIgor MatovičIveta RadičováMikuláš DzurindaKlaus IohannisTraian BăsescuPedro Passos CoelhoPedro Santana LopesJosé Manuel BarrosoAníbal Cavaco SilvaEwa KopaczDonald TuskJan Peter BalkenendeRuud LubbersDries van AgtLawrence GonziJean-Claude JunckerJacques Louis SanterPierre WernerKrišjānis KariņšMāris KučinskisLaimdota StraujumaValdis DombrovskisAigars KalvītisSilvio BerlusconiSilvio BerlusconiSilvio BerlusconiGiulio AndreottiCiriaco De MitaGiovanni GoriaAmintore FanfaniAmintore FanfaniArnaldo ForlaniFrancesco CossigaGiulio AndreottiAldo MoroLeo VaradkarEnda KennyJohn BrutonGarret FitzGeraldGarret FitzGeraldLiam CosgraveViktor OrbánKyriakos MitsotakisAntonis SamarasKostas KaramanlisKonstantinos MitsotakisTzannis TzannetakisGeorgios RallisAngela MerkelHelmut KohlNicolas SarkozyJacques ChiracValéry Giscard d'EstaingAlexander StubbJyrki KatainenJuhan PartsPoul SchlüterNicos AnastasiadesAndrej PlenkovićBoyko BorisovBoyko BorisovBoyko BorisovYves LetermeHerman Van RompuyYves LetermeJean-Luc DehaeneWilfried MartensMark EyskensWilfried MartensPaul Vanden BoeynantsLeo TindemansSebastian KurzHartwig LögerSebastian KurzReinhold MitterlehnerWolfgang SchüsselAntonio TajaniJerzy BuzekHans-Gert PötteringNicole FontaineJosé María Gil-RoblesEgon KlepschPierre PflimlinEmilio ColomboUrsula von der LeyenJean-Claude JunckerJosé Manuel BarrosoJacques SanterDonald TuskHerman Van RompuyUnited KingdomSwedenSpainSloveniaSlovakiaRomaniaPortugalPolandNetherlandsMaltaLuxembourgLithuaniaLatviaItalyIrelandHungaryGreeceGermanyFranceFinlanEstoniaDenmarkCzech RepublicCyprusCroatiaBulgariaBelgiumAustriaEuropean ParliamentHigh Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security PolicyEuropean CommissionPresident of the European CouncilEuropean Council

Seat and meetings

The European Council is required by Article 15.3 TEU to meet at least twice every six months, but convenes more frequently in practice. [19] [20] Despite efforts to contain business, meetings typically last for at least two days, and run long into the night. [20]

Until 2002, the venue for European Council summits was the member state that held the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union. However, European leaders agreed during ratification of the Nice Treaty to forego this arrangement at such a time as the total membership of the European Union surpassed 18 member states. [21] An advanced implementation of this agreement occurred in 2002, with certain states agreeing to waive their right to host meetings, favouring Brussels as the location. [22] Following the growth of the EU to 25 member states, with the 2004 enlargement, all subsequent official summits of the European Council have been in Brussels, with the exception of punctuated ad hoc meetings, such as the 2017 informal European Council in Malta. [23] The logistical, environmental, financial and security arrangements of hosting large summits are usually cited as the primary factors in the decision by EU leaders to move towards a permanent seat for the European Council. [7] Additionally, some scholars argue that the move, when coupled with the formalisation of the European Council in the Lisbon Treaty, represents an institutionalisation of an ad hoc EU organ that had its origins in Luxembourg compromise, with national leaders reasserting their dominance as the EU's "supreme political authority". [7]

Originally, both the European Council and the Council of the European Union utilised the Justus Lipsius building as their Brussels venue. In order to make room for additional meeting space a number of renovations were made, including the conversion of an underground carpark into additional press briefing rooms. [24] However, in 2004 leaders decided the logistical problems created by the outdated facilities warranted the construction of a new purpose built seat able to cope with the nearly 6,000 meetings, working groups, and summits per year. [5] This resulted in the Europa building, which opened its doors in 2017. The focal point of the new building, the distinctive multi-storey "lantern-shaped" structure in which the main meeting room is located, is utilised in both the European Council's and Council of the European Union's official logos. [25]

Role in security and defence

The EU command and control (C2) structure, as directed by political bodies which are composed of member states's representatives and generally require unanimous decisions, as of April 2019: [26]

Liaison:       Advice and recommendations       Support and monitoring       Preparatory work     
Political strategic level:
ISS EUCO Pres. (EUCO) Chain of command
Coordination/support
SatCen CIVCOM HR/VP (FAC)
INTCEN HR/VP (PMG) HR/VP (PSC) (******) Coat of arms of Europe.svg Coat of arms of the European Union Military Committee.svg
Golden star.svg Golden star.svg Golden star.svg Golden star.svg
CEUMC (EUMC)
CMPD Coat of arms of the European Union Military Staff.svg
Golden star.svg Golden star.svg Golden star.svg
DGEUMS (***) (EUMS)
Military/civilian strategic level:
Coat of arms of the European Union Military Staff.svg
Golden star.svg Golden star.svg Golden star.svg
Dir MPCC (***) ( MPCC )
JSCC Civ OpCdr CPCC (*)
Operational level:
MFCdr (****) (MFHQ)HoM (*)
Tactical level:
CC(**) LandCC(**) AirCC(**) MarOther CCs(**)
ForcesForcesForcesForces


*In the event of a CSDP Civilian Mission also being in the field, the relation with the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC) and its Civilian Operation Commander (Civ OpCdr), as well as the subordinate Head of Mission (HoM), are coordinated as shown.
**Other Component Commanders (CCs) and service branches which may be established
***The MPCC is part of the EUMS and Dir MPCC is double-hatted as DGEUMS. Unless the MPCC is used as Operation Headquarters (OHQ), either a national OHQ offered by member states or the NATO Command Structure (NCS) would serve this purpose. In the latter instance, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR), rather than Dir MPCC, would serve as Operation Commander (OpCdr).
****Unless the MPCC is used as Operation Headquarters (OHQ), the MFCdr would be known as a Force Commander (FCdr), and direct a Force Headquarters (FHQ) rather than a MFHQ. Whereas the MFHQ would act both on the operational and tactical level, the FHQ would act purely on the operational level.
*****The political strategic level is not part of the C2 structure per se, but represents the political bodies, with associated support facilities, that determine the missions' general direction. The Council determines the role of the High Representative (HR/VP), who serves as Vice-President of the European Commission, attends European Council meetings, chairs the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) and may chair the Political and Security Committee (PSC) in times of crisis. The HR/VP proposes and implements CSDP decisions.
******Same composition as Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) II, which also prepares for the CSDP-related work of the FAC.

See also

Related Research Articles

Council of the European Union Institution of the European Union

The Council of the European Union, often referred to in the treaties and other official documents simply as the Council, and informally known as the Council of Ministers, is the third of the seven Institutions of the European Union (EU) as listed in the Treaty on European Union. It is one of three legislative bodies and together with the European Parliament serves to amend and approve the proposals of the European Commission, which holds legislative initiative.

European Economic Community International organization

The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization that aimed to bring about economic integration among its member states. It was created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957. Upon the formation of the European Union in 1993, the EEC was incorporated into the EU and renamed the European Community (EC). In 2009, the EC formally ceased to exist and its institutions were directly absorbed by the EU. This made the Union the formal successor institution of the Community.

European Commission Executive branch of the European Union

The European Commission (EC) is the executive branch of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU. Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg City, pledging to respect the treaties and to be completely independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate. The Commissioners are proposed by the Council of the European Union, on the basis of suggestions made by the national governments, and then appointed by the European Council after the approval of the European Parliament. It is common, although not a formal requirement, that the commissioners have previously held senior political positions, such as being a member of the European Parliament or a government minister.

President of the European Commission Head of the European Commission

The President of the European Commission is the head of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union. The President of the Commission leads a Cabinet of Commissioners, referred to as the College, collectively accountable to the European Parliament. The President is empowered to allocate portfolios amongst, reshuffle or dismiss Commissioners as necessary. The College directs the Commission's civil service, sets the policy agenda and determines the legislative proposals it produces. The Commission is the only body that can propose EU laws. The President of the Commission is the highest ranking official within the European Union.

Common Foreign and Security Policy

The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) is the organised, agreed foreign policy of the European Union (EU) for mainly security and defence diplomacy and actions. CFSP deals only with a specific part of the EU's external relations, which domains include mainly Trade and Commercial Policy and other areas such as funding to third countries, etc. Decisions require unanimity among member states in the Council of the European Union, but once agreed, certain aspects can be further decided by qualified majority voting. Foreign policy is chaired and represented by the EU's High Representative, currently Josep Borrell.

President of the European Council

The president of the European Council is the person presiding over and driving forward the work of the European Council, as well as a principal representative of the European Union (EU) on the world stage. This institution comprises the college of heads of state or government of EU member states as well as the president of the European Commission, and provides political direction to the European Union (EU).

Committee of Permanent Representatives

COREPER, from French Comité des représentants permanents, is the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union, made up of the head or deputy head of mission from the EU member states in Brussels.

Institutions of the European Union Decision-making bodies of the European Union

The institutions of the European Union are the seven principal decision-making bodies of the European Union (EU). They are, as listed in Article 13 of the Treaty on European Union:

European Union Military Staff

The Military Staff of the European Union (EUMS) is the directorate-general of the European Union's (EU) External Action Service (EEAS) that contributes to the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) by providing strategic advice to the High Representative (HR/VP) and commanding operations through its Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) operational headquarters. From the end of 2020 the MPCC will also be capable of running executive operations of up to 2500 troops, i.e. the size of one battle group, as well as 3 non-executive missions.

President of the European Union

The official title President of the European Union does not exist, but there are a number of presidents of European Union institutions, including:

Foreign Affairs Council

The Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) is a configuration of the Council of the European Union that convenes once a month. Meetings bring together the foreign ministers of the member states. Ministers responsible for European affairs, defence, development or trade also participate depending on the items on agenda. The configuration is unique in that is chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) rather than the member state holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union; there is one exception, when the FAC meets in the configuration of ministers responsible for trade (FAC/Trade), with the presiding member state's minister chairing the meeting.

European Union Military Committee

The Military Committee of the European Union (EUMC) is the body of the European Union's (EU) Common Security and Defence Policy that is composed of member states' Chiefs of Defence (CHOD). These national CHODs are regularly represented in the EUMC in Brussels by their permanent Military Representatives (MilRep), who often are two- or three-star flag officers.

General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union

The General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, also known as Council Secretariat, assists the Council of the European Union, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European Council and the President of the European Council. The General Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union. The Secretariat is divided into seven directorates-general, each administered by a director-general.

Treaty of Lisbon Treaty amending the constitutional basis of the European Union

The Treaty of Lisbon is an international agreement that amends the two treaties which form the constitutional basis of the European Union (EU). The Treaty of Lisbon was signed by the EU member states on 13 December 2007, and entered into force on 1 December 2009. It amends the Maastricht Treaty (1992), known in updated form as the Treaty on European Union (2007) or TEU, and the Treaty of Rome (1957), known in updated form as the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (2007) or TFEU. It also amends the attached treaty protocols as well as the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM).

Eurogroup Informal body of ministers of the euro area member states

The Eurogroup is the recognised collective term for informal meetings of the finance ministers of the eurozone—those member states of the European Union (EU) which have adopted the euro as their official currency. The group has 19 members. It exercises political control over the currency and related aspects of the EU's monetary union such as the Stability and Growth Pact. The current President of the Eurogroup is Paschal Donohoe, the Minister for Finance of Ireland.

Euro summit

The Euro summit is the meeting of the heads of state or government of the member states of the eurozone. It is distinct from the EU summit held regularly by the European Council, the meeting of all EU leaders.

Events in the year 1993 in the European Union.

Chairman of the European Union Military Committee

The Chairman of the European Union Military Committee (CEUMC) is the four-star rank officer representing and presiding over the European Union's (EU) Military Committee (EUMC), composed of the chiefs of defence (CHODs) of the EU member states. The chairman is selected by the national chiefs of defence and appointed by the Council of the European Union for a three-year term.

History of the Common Security and Defence Policy

This article outlines the history of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the European Union (EU), a part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).

Structure of the Common Security and Defence Policy

This article outlines the present structure of the European Union's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), a part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) based on articles 42–46 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). Article 42.2 of TEU states that the CSDP includes the 'progressive framing' of a common Union defence policy, and will lead to a common defence, when the European Council of national heads of state or government, acting unanimously, so decides.

References

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Further reading