The European Council

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Important Notice: Much of the information in this book, published in 2008, has been superseded by Jan Werts’ latest book The European Council in the Era of Crises. Some historical information of specialist interest is contained only in the 2008 book, but most readers will find The European Council in the Era of Crises more suited to their needs.

In this fascinating history, published in 2008, veteran EU correspondent Jan Werts explains how the European Council, from modest origins in occasional summits, has become the strategic driving force of the European Union. He casts light on how it operates, its role vis a vis the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, and how its role will further change under the Treaty of Lisbon, in particular with the appointment of a full-time President.


“Anyone interested in learning more about how Europe functions should read Jan Werts’ fascinating book… An EU journalistpar excellence,no-one is better qualified to write on this subject than Werts. No-one has been as close to quite so many European Council meetings… his focus is always on the issues of substance, often with remarkable results.”Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands

Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands

“This book is vital reading for anyone trying to understand the European Council… Jan Werts’ book is divided into five sections – the origins of the European Council and its rise in power; how it works; its great successes and failures; and its role within an enlarged European Union and future prospects”,Agence Europe

Agence Europe

“His long career based in Brussels ensures that the book is rich in fascinating anecdotes and illuminating insights… The author is also a scholar who has meticulously researched the Commission’s rich archives of official documentation and conducted interviews with 22 high-level actors who have been directly involved in the meetings. As a result it is a significant addition to the academic literature and will be of use on courses at all levels.”Journal of Common Market Studies

Journal of Common Market Studies

Jan Werts combines the skills of a journalist – having personally reported the great majority of European Council meetings since the 1970s – with the disciplines of an academic, having written the first doctoral dissertation on the European Council. He has written this book to assist both those studying the EU from an academic perspective and also those working at a practical level within the institutions who need to understand this often obscure body.

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands

  1. The origins of the European Council
  2. The functioning of the European Council in the institutional framework of the Union
  3. The most important successes and failures of the European Council
  4. The role of the European Council in a Union of 27+ States
  5. Conclusion and policy recommendations: the European Council beyond the 2009 horizon

Annexes, including full listings of Council meetings and highlights



Product Details

Publication Date
2 Jun 2008
Page Count