A President for the European Union: a new actor in town?

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Series Details Vol.45, No.2, June 2007, p231–252
Publication Date June 2007
ISSN 0021-9886
Content Type


In the post-Constitution EU, the rotating Presidency would be replaced by a hybrid system combining a rotating component with the establishment of a permanent President for the European Council. Using a principal-agent framework, we look at the supply and demand for formal leadership in the new system, accounting for the substantial institutional change in the format of the Presidency. We then examine the President's effectiveness and efficiency and discuss whether the President, as a new institutional actor, has the potential to evolve into an autonomous political actor in the EU. Our analysis suggests a discernible though by no means unconditional strengthening of the President's potential for an autonomous political role in the new EU institutional architecture.

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