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The European Council brings together the Heads of State or Government of the 27 EU Member States in regular 'summit' meetings which seek to define the overall political direction and priorities of the European Union. This Briefing offers a selection of key facts and figures about this institution, detailing its membership, role, work and development over time.

The European Council consists of the 27 Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States, who are voting members, together with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, who have no vote (Article 15(2) TEU). The chart shows the current members, the national office they hold and their political affiliation, as well as the year their membership of the institution began. This publication is updated periodically to reflect changes in the European Council's ...

A series of sensitive topics feature on the agenda of the last regular European Council meeting before the summer break, taking place on 23-24 June. Considering the magnitude of the issues at stake, this European Council meeting – if successful – could become a milestone summit. Notably, EU leaders are expected to consider granting candidate country status to Ukraine and Moldova, most probably with certain specific conditions, to reaffirm the Western Balkans' European perspective, and to consider ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, analyses the evolutions of the modes of governance at EU level. It shows that the so-called Community method has undergone a double evolution towards more intergovernmentalism, on the one hand, and more parliamentarisation, on the other. In particular, in recent years, the first trend has dominated. The study proposes solutions to defend the ...

On 30 and 31 May 2022, EU Heads of State or Government will meet for the fourth time since the outbreak of Russia’s war on Ukraine, to discuss developments in and support for the invaded country. Three other inter-connected topics - security and defence, energy and food security - will also be on the agenda. EU leaders are expected to take stock of the defence investment gaps analysis presented by the European Commission and the High Representative/Vice President of the Commission (HR/VP), Josep ...

European defence cooperation has been a 'rolling' item on the European Council's agenda for the past decade and will continue to feature high as the new Strategic Compass is being implemented. Russia's war on Ukraine has altered the European security architecture, accelerating cooperation in defence, a policy area where the European Council has shown both commitment, by issuing periodic policy guidelines and following up on them, and continuity, by maintaining the topic on its agenda on a regular ...

The European Council in 2020

Staidéar 04-04-2022

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 affected the work of the European Council in many ways. One was operational. The European Council switched in March from in-person meetings to video-conferencing. During the year, the European Council held eight video-conferences and met five times in person. Meeting via video-conference, notably in March-April, during the first wave of the pandemic, and in October-November, during the second wave, allowed the European Council to apply itself immediately ...

Russia's war on Ukraine and the linked issue of energy security constituted the clear focus of the European Council meeting held on 24 25 March 2022. The meeting included a joint session with the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, and it formed part of a trilogy of summit meetings in Brussels (NATO, G7 and EU) demonstrating Western unity in support of Ukraine and in response to President Vladimir Putin's unacceptable violation of international law. The main outcomes of the meeting ...

On 24-25 March 2022, EU Heads of State or Government will meet for the third time in five weeks. In the presence of the United States President, Joe Biden, they will discuss developments in and support for Ukraine, in the context of the unprovoked Russian invasion of the country. Building on their Versailles Declaration of 10-11 March, EU leaders will take further steps aimed at strengthening European sovereignty in the field of security, defence and energy security. As regards security and defence ...

At the informal European Council of 10-11 March 2022, EU leaders adopted the Versailles declaration condemning the ‘unprovoked and unjustified’ Russian military aggression against Ukraine. They set strategic guidelines for security and defence, energy and economic and financial affairs.