Accountability and Personalisation of the European Council Presidency

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Series Details Vol.31, No.6, November 2009, p685-702
Publication Date November 2009
ISSN 0703-6337
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Abstract: While the European Council has come to be a key institution in the EU, its accountability has been rather indirect and limited. Individually its members are held to account in their domestic systems. Collectively, however, accountability appears limited to the presidential addresses to the European Parliament. This may well change if the rotating European Council Presidency were to be replaced by a permanent, elected president. This article presents a systematic analysis of the principle of rotation versus that of a permanent European Council President in terms of democratic representation and accountability. It concludes that a permanent president would open up opportunities to increase the public accountability of the European Council to the European Parliament. More specifically, it suggests that whenever such a president would seek to expand his powers, automatic balancers within the EU institutional architecture would ensure that these powers were checked and subject to parliamentary control.

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