European Council of the European Union

The European Council of the European Union

At its conception in 1974, the European Council (EC) had the form of an informal summit aiming at enhancing dialogue between the heads of state of the Member States1. The EC acquired the status of a formal body when the Treaty of Maastricht was adopted in 1992 and it became, officially, one of the seven European institutions under the provisions of Treaty of Lisbon. The European Council consists of the heads of state or government of the 28 EU Member States, along with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission.

The purpose of EC is to form the political agenda and the vision of the Union. As it does not have legislative power, the Council cannot propose nor vote upon legislation. During its meetings, the Heads of State adopt conclusions on actions to be taken upon important issues of the EU. The President of the European Council has the authority to draft guidelines for the conclusions. After being discussed, the Conclusions are only adopted if there is consensus among all EU member states but there is an exception when the EU treaties provide otherwise, then the conclusion is decided by unanimity or by qualified majority. The most important power that the EC is entitled to is the right to propose the President of the European Commission and to appoint the whole body of commissioners (after the European Parliament gives its consent). The meetings of the European Council, usually referred to as EU summits, are being chaired by its president and take place at least twice every six months and are being held in Brussels, in the Europa building.

The legislative priorities as set by the Council or the period 2018-2019 are the following: citizens’ security, migration policy, boost of growth, social security, the Digital Single Market, the Energy Union and the democratic legitimacy of the EU.

For the second semester of 2018, Austria holds the Presidency of the Council.

The topic to be discussed is: Refugee Crisis: A common and coordinated policy for the EU

Member States

Partners