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The European Council and the CouncilNew intergovernmentalism and institutional change$
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Uwe Puetter

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198716242

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716242.001.0001

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The European Council: the New Centre of Political Gravity

The European Council: the New Centre of Political Gravity

Chapter:
(p.68) 3 The European Council: the New Centre of Political Gravity
Source:
The European Council and the Council
Author(s):

Uwe Puetter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716242.003.0003

The European Council has emerged as the new centre of political gravity in European Union policy-making. While the institution’s role in adopting history-making decisions on EU development is well known, the massive expansion of European Council activity in the post-Maastricht era requires further explanation. The European Council plays a key role in policy coordination as the new areas of European Union activity all involve decision-making on issues that are highly contested within domestic politics. Without strong consensus at the highest political level, coordination cannot succeed. European Council agenda data show the correlation between the evolution of the new areas of activity and the increased role of the European Council. Modifications to the forum’s working methods, the introduction of the office of an elected president by the Lisbon Treaty, and special meeting formats such as the Euro Summit can be best explained by increased demands for consensus generation.

Keywords:   Lisbon Treaty, European Council president, Euro Summit, agenda, working methods

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