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 journalist par 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
“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
“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
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.
Foreword, by Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Chapter 1. The origins of the European Council
Chapter 2. The functioning of the European Council in the institutional framework of the Union
Chapter 3. The most important successes and failures of the European Council
Chapter 4. The role of the European Council in a Union of 27+ States
Chapter 5. Conclusion and policy recommendations: the European Council beyond the 2009 horizon
Annexes, including full listings of Council meetings and highlights
280 pages – June 2008