European Council

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European Council
— ER —
Council of the EU and European Council.svg
state level European Union
position Summit of EU heads of state and government ( intergovernmental body and part of the EU political system )
founding December 10, 1974
Headquarters Europe Building ,
Brussels , BelgiumBelgium 
presidency Belgium Charles Michel ( President of the Council )
Group portrait of the European Council at the Lisbon Summit (December 2007)

The European Council ( ER , informally also EUCO , from the English European Council ) is the body of the heads of state and government of the European Union (EU). The Council meets at least twice every six months, also known as the EU summit . The European Council plays a special role in the political system of the EU : it is not involved in the day-to-day legislation of the EU , but as a higher-level institution serves in particular to find compromises between member states on important political issues and to provide fundamental impetus for the further development of the EU to set Union. Its tasks and functioning are regulated in Art. 15 EU Treaty and Art. 235 f. FEU Treaty .

The European Council represents the governments of the EU member states and is therefore the second important intergovernmental institution of the European Union alongside the Council of the European Union (also known as the Council of Ministers ), which can be understood as the chamber of states . This sets it apart from supranational bodies such as the European Parliament (Citizens' Chamber), the European Commission ( executive ) and the European Court of Justice .

A President of the European Council , who is otherwise not allowed to hold any national political office, is elected to chair the summit meetings for a period of two and a half years . He should ensure continuity in the work of the European Council, mediate in conflicts and work out compromise proposals, but has no voting rights. He also represents the Union externally together with the President of the Commission . Charles Michel has been the incumbent since December 1, 2019 .


Old European Council logo until 30 June 2014

According to Article 15 of the EU Treaty, the European Council gives the EU “the impetus required for its development and defines the general political objectives and priorities for this”. In addition, the European Council also deals with important issues for which no consensus could be found at ministerial level (i.e. in the Council of the European Union ). The common foreign and security policy (CFSP) is also frequently discussed. The outcome of the Council meetings is recorded in the "Presidency Conclusions". These are initially not legally binding within the political system of the EU. However, since the heads of state and government usually have the authority to set guidelines within the government of their own country , the results of the negotiations at the European Council also serve as a guideline for the meetings of the Council of Ministers. The European Commission also usually acts in line with the compromises found at the summit meetings.

Some institutional decisions in EU politics are also taken by the European Council. These include, for example, the nomination of the President of the Commission and also the High Representative of the EU , through which the European Council has influence on the EU executive. In addition, it elects the members of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank after non-binding votes in the Economic Committee and in the plenum of the European Parliament on the recommendation of the Council of the EU ( Article 283 (2) subparagraph 2 TFEU ). The election takes place in each case with a qualified majority . The European Council has another function in connection with the passerelle regulation in Article 48 of the EU Treaty : through this it can use the qualified majority or the introduce ordinary legislative procedures. However, the national parliaments each have a right of veto for such passerelle decisions .

The European Council plays a special role in reforms of the EU treaty (such as the Treaty of Nice or the Treaty of Lisbon ). These are international treaties between the individual member states and must therefore be negotiated and signed by their governments. Here, too, the key decisions are usually made at summit meetings of the European Council, which then convenes an intergovernmental conference at which officials from the member states negotiate the exact wording. The contracts are in turn signed at meetings of the European Council.


Photo of the members of the European Council at the Brussels Summit in 1987

The European Council is officially made up of the heads of state and government of the Union, the President of the European Council and the President of the Commission , although the latter have no voting rights. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy also takes part in the work in an advisory capacity ( Article 15 (2) of the EU Treaty ). In addition, another Commission member and the Secretary General of the Council , who supports the Council President in his work, are usually present at the summit meetings. At the start of the Summits, the President of the European Parliament also sets out the Parliament 's position on the issues at hand. These participants can also be seen in the so-called 'family photos' taken at each Summit. In individual cases, the European Council invites other participants, such as high-ranking civil servants, to its meetings in an advisory capacity.

Since the term "heads of state and government" is not clearly defined, the decision as to who exactly represents a member state in the European Council is left to the respective national regulations. The meaning of the wording is that the government representative with far-reaching decision-making powers is present. In most countries, this is the head of government; Only for Lithuania and France , where constitutional competence for foreign policy lies with the President and not the Prime Minister , does the respective head of state take part in the summit meetings. The national regulation is particularly important in states with a semi-presidential system of government , where both the head of state and the head of government have political influence but can belong to different parties. In Finland and Poland , for example, there have been arguments in the past about whether the respective president should attend the meetings alongside or instead of the head of government.

If a head of state or government is unable to attend a meeting, they can transfer their voting rights to another member state. However, each state can represent at most one other state ( Article 235 TFEU).

political alliances

Composition of the European Council by political alliance (voting members)
A total of 27 seats

As of December 8, 2021

Although the negotiating and voting behavior of the heads of state and government is primarily determined by national interests, their party affiliations also offer an explanation for the policies of the European Council as a whole. The heads of state and government of the major European parties and groups – Christian Democrats ( EPP ), Social Democrats ( SPE ) and Liberals ( ALDE or Renew Europe ) – regularly discuss this at separate meetings before the summit. As a rule, the chairmen of the parliamentary groups in Parliament, sometimes the members of the Commission and other guests also take part. For example, the then Greek Prime Minister Tsipras ( European Left ) was regularly invited to the meetings of the social democratic heads of government.

Current composition

The following table of the current members of the European Council also names the national political party and the European political party to which each politician belongs (as of December 17, 2021):

Member State government office position incumbent national party european party taking office
Belgium Belgium prime minister head of government Informal meeting of ministers responsible for development (FAC).  Arrivals Alexander De Croo (36766610160) (cropped2).jpg Alexander DeCroo OpenVLD ALDE October 1, 2020
Bulgaria Bulgaria prime minister head of government Kiril Petkov 2021.jpg Kiril Petkov pp independent December 13, 2021
Denmark Denmark Minister of State head of government Mette Frederiksen, 2017-06-16.jpg Mette Frederiksen A SPE June 27, 2019
Germany Germany Chancellor head of government 2021-09-12 Politics, TV-Triell federal election 2021 1DX 3801 by Stepro (cropped).jpg Olaf Scholz SPD SPE December 8, 2021
Estonia Estonia prime minister head of government RE Kaja Kallas.jpg Kaya Kallas RE ALDE January 26, 2021
Finland Finland prime minister head of government Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin 2019 (cropped).jpg Sanna Marin SDP SPE December 10, 2019
France France President of the Republic head of state Emmanuel Macron in July 2017.jpg Emmanuel Macron SEM non-party (ALDE-close) May 14, 2017
Greece Greece prime minister head of government Kyriakos Mitsotakis (cropped).jpg Kyriacus Mitsotakis ND EPP July 8, 2019
Ireland Ireland Taoiseach head of government Micheál Martin (official portrait) 2020 (cropped).jpg Michael Martin FF ALDE June 27, 2020
Italy Italy Prime Minister head of government Mario Draghi 2021 cropped.jpg Mario Draghi independent independent February 13, 2021
Croatia Croatia prime minister head of government Andrej Plenkovic 2017.jpg Andrej Plenkovic HDZ EPP October 19, 2016
Latvia Latvia prime minister head of government Krišjānis Kariņš 2019 (cropped)2.jpg Krišjānis Kariņš Vienotība EPP January 23, 2019
Lithuania Lithuania president head of state Gitana's Nauseda crop.png Gitanas Nausėda independent independent July 12, 2019
Luxembourg Luxembourg prime minister head of government Tallinn Digital Summit.  Handshake Xavier Bettel and Jüri Ratas (36718144533) CROP BETTEL.jpg Xavier Bettel DP ALDE December 4, 2013
Malta Malta prime minister head of government Pm robert abela malta 21022020.jpg Robert Abela pl SPE January 13, 2020
Netherlands Netherlands prime minister head of government Mark Rutte VVD ALDE October 14, 2010
Austria Austria Chancellor head of government 2020 Karl Nehammer Council of Ministers on January 8, 2020 (49351572787) (cropped).jpg Karl Nehammer ÖVP EPP December 6, 2021
Poland Poland Prime Minister head of government Mateusz Morawiecki Prezes Rady Ministrów (cropped).jpg Mateusz Morawiecki PiS ECR December 11, 2017
Portugal Portugal prime minister head of government Antonio Costa 2014 (cropped) 2.jpg Antonio Costa hp SPE November 24, 2015
Romania Romania president head of state Klaus Iohannis Senate of Poland 2015 02 (cropped 2).JPG Klaus Johannis PNL * EPP December 21, 2014
Sweden Sweden Minister of State head of government Budget proposals for 2022 (1 av 8) (cropped) (1).jpg Magdalena Andersson S SPE November 24, 2021
Slovakia Slovakia District President head of government Visit of Eduard Heger, Slovak Prime Minister, to the European Commission (cropped).jpg Edward Heger OĽaNO non-party (EPP-close) April 1, 2021
Slovenia Slovenia prime minister head of government Janez Janša.jpg Janez Jansa SDS EPP March 13, 2020
Spain Spain prime minister head of government Pedro Sanchez 2019 (3x2 cropped).jpg Pedro Sanchez PSOE SPE June 1, 2018
Czech Republic Czech Republic prime minister head of government Petr Fiala 2019 Praha.jpg Peter Fiala ODS ECR November 28, 2021
Hungary Hungary prime minister head of government EPP Helsinki Congress in Finland, 7-8 November 2018 (45777983671) cropped.jpg Viktor Orban Fidesz non-party (EKR or ID close) May 29, 2010
Cyprus Republic Cyprus president head of state and government Anastasiades (cropped).jpg Nikos Anastasiadis DISY EPP February 28, 2013
European Union European Commission President of the European Commission (non-voting) (Ursula von der Leyen) 2019.07.16.  Ursula von der Leyen presents her vision to MEPs 2 (cropped).jpg Ursula von der Leyen CDU EPP December 1, 2019
European Union European Commission High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (non-voting) Josep Borrell (49468484246).jpg Josep Borrell PSC SPE December 1, 2019
European Union presidency President of the European Council (non-voting) Charles Michel (49467991288).jpg Charles Michael MR ALDE December 1, 2019
* Party membership is constitutionally suspended during the presidency

working method

The old Block A of the Résidence Palace was rebuilt for the European Council to become the Europa building .
Block B of the Résidence Palace in Brussels is located in the heart of the "European Quarter" on Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat

The European Council meets at least twice every six months ( Art. 15 Para. 3 EU Treaty ). These summit meetings usually take place in the middle and at the end of each half-year, i.e. in March, June, September and December. There may also be special summits where current important issues are discussed. As part of the Lisbon strategy , it was agreed in 2000 that the future March summit should be reserved for discussing economic , social and environmental issues. The meetings are not open to the public, but the President of the Council informs the European Parliament about the results and submits a written report to it. In addition, at the end of the Summit, the "Conclusions of the Presidency" will be published.

The summits usually last two days, although particularly difficult negotiations can be extended. Large numbers of diplomats and national officials travel to each event, and members of the Permanent Representatives Committee are on hand to advise their respective governments. However, only the official participants of the summit are present during the actual negotiations in the conference room. There are also interpreters, as the participants can use any of the official EU languages . In addition, two officers per Member State may briefly enter the room to transmit messages. The flow of information to the national delegations takes place via a two-stage process: representatives of the secretariat who are present at the meeting are exchanged periodically and pass on information orally to antici groups in a separate anteroom. These in turn inform the respective national delegations. A literal assignment of statements according to participants - as in a protocol - is thus prevented.

In principle, the European Council decides by consensus ( Article 15 (4) TEU); there is no formal vote, only the absence of an explicit dissenting vote is registered. The individual member states have to find compromises between their positions in order to avoid blocking the EU. In order to keep the negotiations as flexible as possible, there is also time for informal discussions at the summit meetings in addition to the "plenary sessions". In special cases, the so-called confessional procedure is used. Here, the Council President explores the negotiating scope of the various countries in individual talks with the heads of state and government and then proposes a compromise. This is intended to overcome deadlocks in long-established negotiations.

Certain decisions, such as nominating the President of the Commission , are taken by qualified majority, using the same voting weights as in general in the Council of the EU . However, these decisions are usually negotiated until a consensus is reached among all member states.

The European Council has generally met in Brussels since 2004 . Like the Council of the EU, it uses the Justus Lipsius building here , and from the end of 2016 a move to the building of the Résidence Palace , which will then be completely renovated, is planned. For special events, however, the heads of state and government sometimes meet in a city in the country that holds the presidency of the Council of Ministers – for example in 2007 on the occasion of the Berlin Declaration or the signing of the Lisbon Treaty .

On December 1, 2009, the European Council adopted rules of procedure (2009/882/EU) to regulate its working methods more precisely, after it had been given the status of an organ of the European Union through the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon.


After the European heads of state and government had previously only met on ceremonial occasions, the Hague Summit in 1969 was the first politically significant meeting to tackle important integration problems. Previously, the development of the European Communities in the 1960s had been blocked primarily by the policies of French President Charles de Gaulle ; the empty chair crisis of 1965/1966 had revealed deep national differences over the further course of integration. After De Gaulle's resignation in 1969, his successor Georges Pompidou (President from June 1969 to April 1974) suggested a summit conference at the highest level. Shortly thereafter, there was also a change of government in Germany and Willy Brandt took office (first red-yellow coalition; Cabinet Brandt I ); the summit was widely seen as a new start in European integration.

The success of the The Hague Summit meant that similar meetings were held at irregular intervals in the years that followed. It managed to solve various "sticky" problems; there was also early criticism (particularly from smaller states) who feared that the summit meetings would lead to a weakening of the supranational community institutions, above all the European Commission . Jean Monnet , one of the founding fathers of the EC and himself a former Commission President , advocated the establishment of regular summits; he saw it as an opportunity for a "provisional government in Europe". At the Paris summit of 1974 , it was finally agreed on December 10 that the meetings, known as the "European Council", would now be held regularly every four months; later it moved to meetings every three months. The chair was held by the country that also chaired the Council of Ministers of the EEC; he therefore changed every six months. The summit meeting was usually held in a city in the country holding the presidency. Only occasionally did meetings also take place in Brussels , where the Commission and the Council of Ministers also met.

Mainly due to the intensive cooperation between Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and Helmut Schmidt (Giscard was President from 1974 to 1981, Schmidt Chancellor from 1974 to 1982), the European Council developed over the next few years into what is probably the most important institution for European integration. At first it was only intended to overcome difficult blockages; but soon he also dealt with detailed questions that the Council of Ministers had not previously been able to clarify. However, this power of the European Council also met with criticism, including from the European federalists around Altiero Spinelli , who saw the influence of the heads of state and government as an obstacle to a more important role for the European Parliament .

Since the oil crisis of 1973 , many countries have been in stagflation (i.e. stagnation and inflation); the EC focused heavily on the Common Agricultural Policy . From 1979 the European Council itself fell into a deadlock, as newly elected British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher refused to consent to any further step towards integration unless Britain's net contributions to the EC budget were significantly reduced. On October 18, 1979, she issued the ultimatum that Great Britain's contributions would have to be significantly reduced, this had to be clarified at the Dublin summit at the end of November 1979 at the latest. This rendered the European Council, which was geared towards consensus, largely unable to act until 1984 when Thatcher's demands were met with the so-called British rebate . In June 1985 the 'Milan Summit' took place. Jacques Delors presented a 'White Paper' intended to mitigate Eurosclerosis and advance the Single Market (for more see Jacques Delors#The 1985 White Paper on the Single Market ); it was approved by the Council of what was then a community of ten member states.

The European Council received a contractual basis on July 1, 1987 when the Single European Act came into force , in which at least six-monthly Council meetings were stipulated. However, the European Council was still not integrated into the institutional system of the European Communities. Its composition and functioning was regulated only in the Single European Act itself (not in the Treaty establishing the European Community "EC Treaty"); formally it was therefore (unlike, for example, the Commission, European Parliament and Council of Ministers) not an organ of the EC. Insofar as the heads of state and government made decisions within the framework of the EC Treaty, for example when appointing the President of the Commission, these were not formally decisions of the European Council, but of the Council of the EC "in the composition of the heads of state and government" (cf. Art 214 EC Treaty).

The Europa building in Brussels, still under construction here, will be the venue for the European Council from 2017

With the Maastricht Treaty (signed on February 7, 1992), the European Council was essentially given the role it has played to this day (as of 2010). In this treaty, the European Union gained new competences in foreign and security policy and in the area of justice and home affairs , which were essentially exercised intergovernmentally ; this further strengthened the function of the European Council as the highest decision-making body in important policy areas at European level. The way it works has now been laid down in the EU treaty .

At the same time, the character of the European Council had changed several times as a result of the various rounds of EU enlargement since 1973: the first six, then nine heads of state and government became fifteen in 1995, twenty-five in 2004 (“ Eastward enlargement ”), twenty-seven in 2007 , and twenty-eight in 2013 (accession of Croatia ) and finally twenty-seven again since 2020 ( Brexit ). The organization of the summit meetings, which traditionally took place in a different city in the country that held the presidency of the Council, took on ever greater proportions (including through tightened security measures). As part of the negotiations on the Treaty of Nice , it was therefore agreed that future meetings from 2004 onwards would normally be held in Brussels . In addition to simpler work processes, this decision was also expected to improve the integration of the European Council into the Brussels-based institutional network of the EU.

The necessity of taking decisions by consensus as a matter of principle also made decision-making in the European Council more difficult with each enlargement. Unlike in the Council of the EU, where majority decisions have increasingly been introduced as a result of treaty reforms since the Single European Act , the consensus principle in the European Council (status when?) was never seriously discussed.

The Lisbon Treaty , signed in 2007 and which came into force on December 1, 2009, brought various other changes: the European Council was now officially an organ of the EU, and its relationships with the other European institutions were more precisely defined and formal than before and the distinction between the "European Council" and the "Council of the EU in the composition of the heads of state and government" was eliminated. The office of President of the European Council was newly introduced ; it took the place of the semi-annual rotating presidency and was (should) ensure better coordination of the activities of the European Council. Since the Lisbon Treaty came into force (December 1, 2009), the foreign and European affairs ministers of the national governments no longer take part in summit meetings.


There is sharp criticism of the institution of the European Council as a whole. The European Council and its decisions have insufficient democratic legitimacy. In addition, the European Council, since it is not a genuinely European but a national body, is more an instrument of renationalization than of denationalization.

For example, the Austrian essayist Robert Menasse writes – among many others : It is striking what inglorious role the European Council played in the growing crisis. It was the Council that initially prevented a common economic and financial policy accompanying the introduction of the euro. Everyone knew that a common currency without a common financial policy was absurd. The Council then also abolished the Maastricht stability criteria when it suited Germany and France because they could not have met the criteria themselves. Germany and France would have wanted to avoid a warning from the European Commission – this only opened the floodgates after a negligent budget policy, at the end of which Germany believed it had to punish the Greeks (cf. Greek sovereign debt crisis from 2010 ). And then it was the Council that prevented aid for Greece , when it was still cheap, until it became shockingly expensive due to the dizzyingly rising risk interest rates: "That's another reason why all those deal heart and brain with the EU, come to this point: What is now essential for survival is a reform of the institutional structure of the EU, a push back and ultimately the abolition of the (European, n.) Council.

Emily O'Reilly , the European Union's European Ombudsman since October 1, 2013 , complains that she has not made any progress with the most important part of her work in the seven years, because the citizens of the EU could not exercise their "right participate in the democratic life of the Union'. This is because the legislative work within the European Council is not transparent, making it "virtually impossible for citizens to know how a European law came about", undermining their right to "represent their elected representatives to be held accountable". This aims "at the heart of the legitimacy of the EU". Negotiating behind closed doors harbors "the danger of alienating citizens and nurturing negative feelings against the EU," criticizes O'Reilly and calls for "citizens' legitimate right to exert influence" to be realised.

Important meetings

date location presidency theme
1st-2nd December 1969 The Hague Piet de Jong , Netherlands First summit meeting of the heads of state and government of the EC , decisions on "completion, deepening and enlargement" of the EC
19-21 October 1972 Paris Georges Pompidou , France second summit meeting of heads of state and government, decision on a political union ( European political cooperation )
14-15 December 1973 Copenhagen Anchor Jørgensen , Denmark Third Summit of Heads of State or Government, Decision establishing the European Court of Auditors and the European Regional Fund
9th-10th December 1974 Paris Valéry Giscard d'Estaing , France Fourth summit meeting, decision by the heads of state and government to meet three times a year in future as the "European Council".
10th-11th March 1975 Dublin Liam Cosgrave , Ireland first regular meeting of the European Council
16-17 July 1975 Brussels Liam Cosgrave , Ireland Decision to introduce a European passport
12-13 July 1976 Brussels Gaston Thorn , Luxembourg Resolution for the direct election of the European Parliament ( European elections ) from 1979
12-13 March 1979 Paris Valéry Giscard d'Estaing , France Establishment of the European Monetary System
25-26 June 1984 Fontainebleau Francois Mitterrand , France Eurosclerosis crisis overcome with UK budget rebate decision and establishment of Adonnino Committee and Dooge Committee
2nd-3rd December 1985 Luxembourg Jacques Santer , Luxembourg Agreement on the Single European Act : first major treaty reform, including a decision to complete the common internal market by the end of 1992
9th-11th December 1991 Maastricht Ruud Lubbers , Netherlands Agreement on the Maastricht Treaty (signed on 7 February 1992): establishment of the European Union , establishment of the common foreign and security policy and cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs , establishment of the codecision procedure and citizenship of the Union , decision on European Monetary Union
21-22 June 1993 Copenhagen Poul Nyrup Rasmussen , Denmark Preparing the EU for eastward enlargement , formulation of the Copenhagen criteria for future accession countries
13th-14th December 1996 Dublin John Bruton , Ireland Agreement on the Stability and Growth Pact
16-17 June 1997 Amsterdam Wim Kok , Netherlands Agreement on the Amsterdam Treaty (signed 2 October 1997)
23-24 March 2000 Lisbon Antonio Guterres , Portugal Diplomatic sanctions against Austria due to the participation of the FPÖ in the government (repealed in September), “ Lisbon strategy ” for social, economic and ecological renewal by 2010
7th-11th December 2000 Nice Jacques Chirac , France Agreement on the Nice Treaty (signed 26 February 2001)
15-16 June 2001 Gothenburg Goran Persson , Sweden first summit in Sweden, accompanied by violent confrontations between EU opponents and the police
13-15 December 2001 Laeken/Laken Guy Verhofstadt , Belgium Convening of the European Convention to draw up an EU constitutional treaty
12-13 December 2002 Copenhagen Anders Fogh Rasmussen , Denmark Decision to admit ten countries on May 1, 2004 (signing of the accession treaties on April 16, 2003 in Athens )
17-18 June 2004 Brussels Bertie Ahern , Ireland Agreement on the EU Constitutional Treaty (signed in Rome on 29 October )
16-17 June 2005 Brussels Jean-Claude Juncker , Luxembourg failure of the financial perspective for 2007-2013; Decision to take a “pause” after the EU constitution was rejected in referendums in France and the Netherlands
21-22 June 2007 Brussels Angela Merkel , Germany Agreement on the Lisbon Treaty (signed in Lisbon on 13 December 2007 )
7th-9th May 2010 Brussels Herman Van Rompuy Special summit on the euro crisis , resolution of the European Stability Mechanism (“rescue package” over 750 billion euros)
16-17 December 2010 Brussels Herman Van Rompuy Decision to reform the FEU Treaty to permanently anchor the European Stability Mechanism
July 21, 2011 Brussels Herman Van Rompuy Special summit on further measures against the euro crisis
8th-9th December 2011 Brussels Herman Van Rompuy Agreement of all member states with the exception of Great Britain to create binding debt limits and corresponding sanctions, signing of the treaty for Croatia 's accession to the Union
28-29 June 2012 Brussels Herman Van Rompuy Agreement on a 120bn growth package and the creation of a banking union led by the ECB
18-19 October 2012 Brussels Herman Van Rompuy Understanding on guidelines for the legal framework for a single supervisory mechanism (banking supervision), on which the Council intended to reach agreement by 1 January 2013
24-25 October 2013 Brussels Herman Van Rompuy Topics are the digital economy, innovation and services (digital single market by 2015, completion of the European Research Area ); Promoting growth, jobs and competitiveness in Europe and the European Banking Union .
19-20 March 2015 Brussels donald tusk Topics include the creation of an Energy Union , relations with Russia and the situation in Ukraine, preparation for the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga.

In addition, the first phase of the 2015 European Semester should be completed.

18-19 February 2016 Brussels donald tusk Topics are the refugee crisis and efforts to keep the UK in the EU .
28-29 June 2016 Brussels donald tusk Topics include the refugee crisis, the outcome of the UK referendum, jobs, growth and investment, as well as the EU's global strategy for foreign and security policy and EU- NATO cooperation .
20-21 October 2016 Brussels donald tusk Topics include strengthening control over the EU's external borders and the return to Schengen , the status of ongoing negotiations on free trade agreements, the Paris climate protection agreement and relations with Russia and the situation in Syria.
December 15, 2016 Brussels donald tusk Topics include support for the Libyan Coast Guard, European Border and Coast Guard , EU cooperation in the field of external security and defence, European Fund for Strategic Investments , Internal Market Strategies and Energy Union, Youth Employment Initiative, support for the ongoing Cyprus reunification process and the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement .
February 3, 2017 Malta donald tusk Measures to stem the flow of irregular migration, preparations for the upcoming 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome
9th-10th March 2017 Brussels donald tusk The theme is the tripartite social summit.
22-23 June 2017 Brussels donald tusk The focus was on security and defence, foreign affairs, climate change, economy, trade and migration.
19-20 October 2017 Brussels donald tusk Migration, Defence, External Relations and Digitalization
14-15 December 2017 Brussels donald tusk Defence, "Social, Education and Culture", Migration, Jerusalem, Brexit negotiations and the Euro Summit
22-23 March 2018 Brussels donald tusk Trade, Brexit, Salisbury Attack, Turkey, Western Balkans, Economic and Monetary Union, Taxation, Digital Europe, Single Market, European Semester, Social Issues, Paris Agreement
28-29 June 2018 Brussels donald tusk Migration, security and defence, jobs, growth and competitiveness, innovation and digital Europe, EU long-term budget (MFF), external relations
November 25, 2018 Brussels donald tusk Approval of the UK exit treaty
June 30–June 2 July 2019 Brussels donald tusk Rotating appointments to top EU positions (nomination by the President of the Commission, election of the President of the European Council, nomination of the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, nomination of the President of the European Central Bank)
March 10, 2020 video conference Charles Michael First European Council meeting by videoconference following the COVID-19 pandemic
17-21 July 2020 Brussels Charles Michael Special session on the EU recovery plan to address the economic crisis in 2020 resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and discussing the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027


  • Wolfgang Wessels : The European Council . Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke 2016, ISBN 978-0-333-58746-1 .
  • Uta Stäsche: The decision-making productivity of the European Council. Legal and empirical study from the European Monetary Union to the Treaty of Lisbon. 1st edition, wvb Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-86573-599-7 (also dissertation at the University of Halle/Saale).
  • Daniela Kietz, Nicolai von Ondarza: Welcome to reality. In: SWP News. 29/2010, Science and Politics Foundation / German Institute for International Politics and Security SWP, Berlin.
  • Hauke ​​Pahre: The Law of the European Council . An investigation in the light of current developments in the European Union. Lang, Frankfurt am Main [u. a.] 2008, ISBN 978-3-631-58302-9 (also dissertation at the University of St. Gallen 2008).

web links

Wiktionary: European Council  - definitions of meaning, word origin, synonyms, translations
Commons : European Council  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. The conclusions of the last summit can be found on the homepage of the European Council .
  2. ^ a b c Peter van Grinsven: The European Council under Construction. EU top level decision making at the beginning of a new century. ( Memento of 28 September 2007 at Internet Archive ) Discussion Papers in Diplomacy, September 2003.
  3. EUobserver 29 August 2008: Spats over who gets to go to EU summit break out in Poland, Finland .
  7. Compare the homepage of the European Council .
  8. Philippe de Schoutheete: The European Council. In: The Institutions of the European Union, eds. John Peterson and Michael Shackleton. Oxford 2012, pp. 43–67, here pp. 47 f.
  9. ^ Council of the EU, press release of September 14, 2005 (PDF; 128 kB).
  10. Official Journal of the European Union of 2 December 2009 L 315, pp. 51-55.
  11. Gerhard Brunn: The European unification from 1945 to today. Bonn 2004, p. 177f. (also: Reclam non-fiction (paperback), 3rd ed. 2009, ISBN 978-3-15-018644-2 ).
  12. Gerhard Brunn: The European unification from 1945 to today. Bonn 2004, p. 199.
  13. Gerhard Brunn: The European unification from 1945 to today. Bonn 2004, p. 198.
  14. Gerhard Brunn: The European unification from 1945 to today. Bonn 2004, p. 203; Gabriele Clemens et al., History of European Integration. Paderborn 2008, p. 211.
  15. Manuel Müller: Diplomacy or Parliamentarism. Altiero Spinelli's rejection of the Genscher-Colombo plan in 1981. Thematic portal European history 2009.
  16. from October 29, 1979: Henne Attila
  17. Gerhard Brunn: The European unification from 1945 to today. Bonn 2004, p. 232.
  18. Die Zeit , No. 28 of July 5, 1985: The moment of truth is yet to come.
  19. Gabriele Clemens and others: History of European integration. Paderborn 2008, p. 224 f.
  20. Parliamentary questions on construction progress
  21. Christine Stark: Evolution of the European Council: The implications of a permanent seat. ( Memento of 8 February 2012 at Internet Archive ) Conference paper at Queen's University Belfast, 2002.
  22. Robert Menasse: On the cowardice of European politicians. In: time online. September 30, 2011
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  24. Statement by the President of the European Union, José Manuel Barroso, on the special summit
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