This systematic assessment of the -often opaque- European Council looks at its characteristics, leaders and output as well as its impact on EU supranational and intergovernmental dynamics. Taking account of historical and contemporary developments up to and beyond the Lisbon Treaty, it encourages in-depth understanding of this key institution.
Wolfgang Wessels is Jean Monnet Professor of Political Science, University of Cologne, Germany. He is also chairman of the executive board of the Trans European Political Studies Association (TEPSA), Belgium, and of the Institute for European Politics (IEP), Germany. Wolfgang has published widely in leading journals and edited volumes and is presently the coordinator of several academic networks: 'PADEMIA - Erasmus Academic Network on Parliamentary Democracy in Europe', 'EXACT - Marie Curie Initial Training Network', 'THESEUS' and 'Observatory of Parliaments after the Lisbon Treaty'.
PART I: THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL: OVERVIEW AND HISTORY.- 1. Introduction: The Many Faces of the European Council.- 2. Multiple Approaches for Understanding a Contested Institution: Three Models.- 3. Pre-History: the Birth of Institutionalised Summitry.- 4. History: Generations of Leaders and the Institutional Trajectory.- PART II: THE ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL WITHIN THE EU ARCHITECTURE.- 5. Political and Procedural Leadership: General Functions and Specific Powers.- 6. Towards a New Institutional Balance? Trends in Inter-Institutional Relations.- PART III: INSIDE THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL: THE DYNAMICS OF DECISION MAKING.- 7. The Presidency: Charismatic Master or Facilitating Manager?.- 8. Rules for Organisation: the Search for an Optimal Institutional Arrangement.- 9. Decision-Making: The Ways to Consensus Formation.- 10. Decision-Making: The Power Dimension.- PART IV: ACTIVITIES, AGREEMENTS AND ACTS.- 11. Deepening: The Constitutional Architect.- 12. Widening: The Master of Enlargement.- 13. Economic Governance: Towards a 'gouvernement economique'?.- 14. External Action: In Search of a Coherent and Effective Global Role.- 15. The Area of Freedom, Security and Justice: Pre-Constitutional and Pre-Legislative Functions.- PART V: CONCLUSIONS AND PERSPECTIVES: A KEY INSTITUTION'S RISE AND DECLINE?.- 16. The European Council: Looking Back to Look Forward.