The European Council

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Publication Date 2015
ISBN 978-0-333-58746-1 (hbk) / 978-0-333-58747-8 (pbk) / 978-1-137-54335-6 (ebook)
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This systematic assessment of the European Council looks at its characteristics, leaders and output as well as its impact on EU supranational and intergovernmental dynamics. Taking account of historical and contemporary developments up to and beyond the Lisbon Treaty, it encourages in-depth understanding of this key institution.


Part I. The European Council: Overview and history
1. Introduction: The many faces of the European Council
2. Multiple approaches for understanding a contested institution: three models
3. Pre-history: the birth of institutionalised summitry
4. History: generations of leaders and the institutional trajectory

Part II. The role of the European Council within the EU architecture
5. Political and procedural leadership: general functions and specific powers
6. Towards a new institutional balance? Trends in inter-institutional relations

Part III. Inside the European Council: The dynamics of decision-making
7. The Presidency: charismatic master or facilitating manager?
8. Rules for organisation: the search for an optimal institutional arrangement
9. Decision-making: the ways to consensus formation
10. Decision-making: the power dimension

Part IV. Activities, agreements and acts
11. Deepening: the constitutional architect
12. Widening: the master of enlargement
13. Economic governance: towards a 'gouvernement économique'?
14. External action: in search of a coherent and effective global role
15. The area of freedom, security and justice: pre-constitutional and pre-legislative functions

Part V. Conclusions and perspectives: A key institution's rise and decline?
16. The European Council: looking back to look forward

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