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European Council

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European Council
Council of the European Union.svg
  • 1961; 61 years ago (1961) (informal)
  • 2009; 13 years ago (2009) (formal)
TypeInstitution of the European Union
Charles Michel

The European Council (informally EUCO) is a collegiate body that defines the overall political direction and priorities of the European Union. It is composed of the heads of state or government of the EU member states, 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 commencement of the Treaty of Lisbon. Its current president is Charles Michel, former Prime Minister of Belgium.


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]


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 of the Council of the European Union

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 led 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[edit]

The European Council is an official institution of the EU, described in 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]


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).[citation needed] 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[edit]

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.


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 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.


Source: [19]

  European People's Party Group (7 + 1 non-voting from the EU institution)[20]

  Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (7)[20]

  Renew Europe (6 + 1 non-voting from the EU institution)[20]

  Independent (5)[20]

  European Conservatives and Reformists (2)[20]

Council of the EU and European Council.svg

European Council
Member Representative Member Representative Member Representative
European Union

European Union

Member since
1 December 2019

Previous membership:
Prime Minister of Belgium 2014–2019

Election: 2019, 2022
Next: 2024
Charles Michel 2019 (cropped).jpg
President of the European Council
Charles Michel
European Union

European Union

Member since
1 December 2019

Election: 2019
Next: 2024
(Ursula von der Leyen) 2019.07.16. Ursula von der Leyen presents her vision to MEPs 2 (cropped).jpg
President of the European Commission
Ursula von der Leyen

Kingdom of Belgium
België/Belgique/Belgien[a 1]
(2.58% of population)[a 2]

Member since
1 October 2020

Next: 2024
Informal meeting of ministers responsible for development (FAC). Arrivals Alexander De Croo (36766610160) (cropped2).jpg
Prime Minister
Alexander De Croo
(RenewOpen Vld)

Republic of Bulgaria
(1.55% of population)

Member since
2 August 2022

Next: 2022
Prime Minister
Galab Donev
(Ind. – Ind.)
Czech Republic

Czech Republic
(2.36% of population)

Member since
17 December 2021

Election: 2021
Next: 2025
Petr Fiala (51940875566).jpg
Prime Minister
Petr Fiala

Kingdom of Denmark
(1.30% of population)

Member since
27 June 2019

Election: 2019
Next: 2023
Pääministeri Marin Kööpenhaminassa 4.5.2022 (52049397038) (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister
Mette Frederiksen

Federal Republic of Germany
(18.57% of population)

Member since
8 December 2021

Election: 2021
Next: 2025
Olaf Scholz In March 2022.jpg
Federal Chancellor
Olaf Scholz

Republic of Estonia
(0.30% of population)

Member since
26 January 2021

Next: 2023
Kaja Kallas (crop).jpg
Prime Minister
Kaja Kallas
Republic of Ireland

(1.12% of population)

Member since
27 June 2020

Election: 2020
Next: 2025
Micheál Martin TD (cropped).jpg
Micheál Martin

Hellenic Republic
(2.39% of population)

Member since
8 July 2019

Election: 2019
Next: 2023
Kyriakos Mitsotakis (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister
Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Kingdom of Spain
(10.59% of population)

Member since
2 June 2018

Election: 2019, 2019
Next: 2023
Pedro Sánchez 2021b (portrait).jpg
Prime Minister
Pedro Sánchez

French Republic
(15.07% of population)

Member since
14 May 2017

Election: 2017, 2022
Next: 2027
Зустріч Президента України з президентами Франції та Румунії, а також головами урядів Німеччини та Італії 76 (cropped).jpg
President of the Republic
Emmanuel Macron

Republic of Croatia
(0.90% of population)

Member since
19 October 2016

Election: 2016, 2020
Next: 2024
BSF 2021 Andrej Plenković (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister
Andrej Plenković

Italian Republic
(13.38% of population)

Member since
13 February 2021

Next: 2022
Mario Draghi 2021 cropped.jpg
Prime Minister
Mario Draghi
(Ind. – Ind.)

Republic of Cyprus
(0.20% of population)

Member since
28 February 2013

Election: 2013, 2018
Next: 2023
Nicos Anastasiades at EPP HQ.jpg
President of the Republic
Nicos Anastasiades

Republic of Latvia
(0.42% of population)

Member since
23 January 2019

Election: 2018
Next: 2022
Krišjānis Kariņš 2019 (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister
Krišjānis Kariņš

Republic of Lithuania
(0.62% of population)

Member since
12 July 2019

Election: 2019
Next: 2024
Gitanas Nauseda crop.png
President of the Republic
Gitanas Nausėda
(Ind. – Ind.)

Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
(0.14% of population)

Member since
4 December 2013

Election: 2013, 2018
Next: 2023
Tallinn Digital Summit. Handshake Xavier Bettel and Jüri Ratas (36718144533) CROP BETTEL.jpg
Prime Minister
Xavier Bettel

(2.17% of population)

Member since
29 May 2010

Election: 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022
Next: 2026
Viktor Orbán 2018.jpg
Prime Minister
Viktor Orbán
(Ind. – Fidesz)

Republic of Malta
(0.12% of population)

Member since
13 January 2020

Election: 2022
Next: 2027
Robert Abela in 2021.jpg
Prime Minister
Robert Abela

Kingdom of the Netherlands
(3.94% of population)

Member since
14 October 2010

Election: 2010, 2012, 2017, 2021
Next: 2025
Mark Rutte 2015 (1) (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister
Mark Rutte

Republic of Austria
(1.99% of population)

Member since
6 December 2021

Next: 2023
2020 Karl Nehammer Ministerrat am 8.1.2020 (49351366976) (cropped) (cropped).jpg
Federal Chancellor
Karl Nehammer

Republic of Poland
(8.45% of population)

Member since
11 December 2017

Election: 2019
Next: 2023
Mateusz Morawiecki Prezes Rady Ministrów (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister
Mateusz Morawiecki

Portuguese Republic
(2.30% of population)

Member since
26 November 2015

Election: 2019, 2022
Next: 2026
António Costa em 2017.jpg
Prime Minister
António Costa

(4.29% of population)

Member since
21 December 2014

Election: 2014, 2019
Next: 2024
Klaus Iohannis Senate of Poland 2015 02 (cropped 2).JPG
Klaus Iohannis
(EPPPNL[a 3] )

Republic of Slovenia
(0.47% of population)

Member since
1 June 2022

Election: 2022
Next: 2026
Robert Golob - 52114942369 (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister
Robert Golob
(Ind. – GS)

Slovak Republic
(1.22% of population)

Member since
1 April 2021

Next: 2024
Eduard Heger with WIPO Director General.jpg
Prime Minister
Eduard Heger

Republic of Finland
(1.24% of population)

Member since
10 December 2019

Next: 2023
Prime Minister Sanna Marin in Helsinki 4.10.2021 (51550103499) (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister
Sanna Marin

Kingdom of Sweden
(2.32% of population)

Member since
30 November 2021

Next: 2022
Magdalena Andersson in 2022 (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister
Magdalena Andersson
  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 2022
  3. ^ Membership in PNL suspended while holding the office of the president.

Also partially or fully attending, but not members

President of the European Parliament High Representative of the Union
European Union

European Union

Position held since
18 January 2022

Election: 2022
Next: 2024
President of the European Parliament
Roberta Metsola
European Union

European Union

Position held since
1 December 2019

Election: 2019
Next: 2024
Josep Borrell (49468484246).jpg
High Representative of the Union
Josep Borrell
Order of Precedence (as of 25 May 2022)
    1. Charles Michel, President of the European Council
    2. Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic (as President-in-Office of the Council)
    3. Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus
    4. Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania
    5. Gitanas Nausėda, President of Lithuania
    6. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
    7. Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary
    8. Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
    9. Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
    10. António Costa, Prime Minister of the Portuguese Republic
    11. Andrej Plenković, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia
    12. Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland
    13. Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Spain
    14. Krišjānis Kariņš, Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia
    15. Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark
    16. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece
    17. Sanna Marin, Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland
    18. Robert Abela, Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta
    19. Micheál Martin, Taoiseach of Ireland
    20. Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium
    21. Kaja Kallas, Prime Minister of Estonia
    22. Mario Draghi, Prime Minister of the Italian Republic
    23. Eduard Heger, Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic
    24. Magdalena Andersson, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Sweden
    25. Karl Nehammer, Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria
    26. Olaf Scholz, Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
    27. Kiril Petkov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria
    28. Petr Fiala, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
    29. Robert Golob, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia

Political alliances[edit]

European political affiliation of the current members of the European Council

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 indicates the alignment of each individual country.

Number of members[20]
7 (25.93%)
7 (25.93%)
6 (22.22%)
5 (18.52%)
2 (7.41%)
Share of population

Although some of the current members are officially independent they informally align with certain political groups:

  • Emmanuel Macron of France is usually allied with the liberal bloc (now Renew), his party is a member of the Renew Group in the European Parliament.
  • Eduard Heger of Slovakia is allied with the EPP; his political party is also a member of the EPP Group in the European Parliament.
  • Viktor Orban of Hungary, formerly affiliated with the EPP, has been advocating conservative positions, close to those of the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who is a member of the ECR.

Members timeline[edit]

Robert GolobGitanas NausėdaDalia GrybauskaitėValdas AdamkusMario DraghiGiuseppe ConteMario MontiLamberto DiniCarlo Azeglio CiampiGiovanni SpadoliniGordon BajnaiPéter MedgyessyVassiliki Thanou-ChristophilouPanagiotis PikrammenosLucas PapademosXenophon ZolotasIoannis GrivasJan FischerJiří RusnokTihomir OreškovićGalab DonevKiril PetkovRumen RadevGeorgi BliznashkiPlamen OresharskiMarin RaykovBrigitte BierleinJürgen TrumpfIndulis EmsisAlexis TsiprasAlexis TsiprasDemetris ChristofiasBoris JohnsonTheresa MayDavid CameronMateusz MorawieckiBeata SzydłoJarosław KaczyńskiKazimierz MarcinkiewiczBrian CowenBertie AhernAlbert ReynoldsCharles HaugheyCharles HaugheyCharles HaugheyJack LynchJacques ChiracPetr FialaPetr 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 WilsonMagdalena AnderssonStefan 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 PapandreouOlaf ScholzGerhard 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 JanšaEduard HegerIgor 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 TindemansKarl NehammerAlexander SchallenbergSebastian KurzHartwig LögerSebastian KurzReinhold MitterlehnerWolfgang SchüsselRoberta MetsolaAntonio 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 Council

Seat and meetings[edit]

The European Council is required by Article 15.3 TEU to meet at least twice every six months, but convenes more frequently in practice.[21][22] Despite efforts to contain business, meetings typically last for at least two days, and run long into the night.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26] 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.[27]

Role in security and defence[edit]

The EU command and control (C2) structure is directed by political bodies composed of member states' representatives, and generally requires unanimous decisions. As of April 2019:[28]

Liaison:       Advice and recommendations       Support and monitoring       Preparatory work     
Political strategic level:
ISSEUCO Pres. (EUCO)Chain of command
INTCENHR/VP (PMG)HR/VP (PSC) (******)Coat of arms of Europe.svg Coat of arms of the European Union Military Committee.svg
Golden star.svgGolden star.svgGolden star.svgGolden star.svg
CMPDCoat of arms of the European Union Military Staff.svg
Golden star.svgGolden star.svgGolden star.svg
Military/civilian strategic level:
Coat of arms of the European Union Military Staff.svg
Golden star.svgGolden star.svgGolden star.svg
Dir MPCC (***) (MPCC)
Operational level:
MFCdr (****) (MFHQ)HoM (*)
Tactical level:
CC(**) LandCC(**) AirCC(**) MarOther CCs(**)

*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[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]