The Council

Author:Ioana Nely Militaru
Profession:PhD is Associate Professor at the Law Department of the Bucharest University of Economic Studies
Pages:62-87
 
FREE EXCERPT
Chapter 4. The Council
4.1. Regulations of the Council institution
The legal basis of the Council institution consists of the following provi-
sions: - art. 14 TEU (regarding the exercise of the legislative and budgetary
functions) and in art. 16 TEU;
- art. 237-243 TFEU.
The Brussels Merger Treaty
1
established a Council of the European Com-
munities, called the Council, which replaced the Special Council of Ministers of
the ECSC, EEC and Euratom. According to art. 2 of the Treaty of Brussels, this
single Council "exercises the powers and powers conferred under the conditions
provided by each of the three Community Treaties", and as regards the composi-
tion, "each government delegates one of its members".
By TMs, the name of the Council is changed in the Council of the Euro-
pean Union, and the composition is defined in new terms, in art. 203 TEC
2
: The
Council is composed of a representative at ministerial level of each Member
State, empowered to engage the government of that Member State.
Under the Treaty of Lisbon, the Council of the Union is referred to as the
"Council" and is regulated by Article 16 TEU and Article 237-243 TFEU.
In almost identical terms as in the TEU, the Council is composed of a
representative at ministerial level of each Member State, empowered to engage
the government of the Member State it represents and to exercise the right to vote
[art. 16 paragraph (2) TEU].
By default, the Council of the Union is the representative body of the
Member States through their governments, which are democratically accountable
either in front of national parliaments or in front of their citizens [art. 10 para-
graph (2) TEU]. Each Member State must establish the mode of representation
within the Council, in accordance with art. 16 paragraph (2) TEU (Annex I to the
Council Rules of Procedure)
3
.
The Council's headquarters are in Brussels, and in April, June and Octo-
ber, the Council meetings are held in Luxembourg
4
. In exceptional circumstances
1
Done on 8 April 1965 in Brussels, it entered into force on 1 July 1967.
2
It is about art. 146 TEU [resulting from art. 2 paragraph (1) of the merger treaty of the executives],
becoming art. 203 by the Treaty of Amsterdam.
3
The current Council Rules of Procedure were approved by Council Decision 2009/937/EU o f 1
December 2009. It was modulated by Council Decision no. 795 of December 14, 2010, with effect
from January 1, 2011 (2010/795/EU).
4
See art. 1 paragraph (3) of the Council's Rules of Procedure; see also the single article of the
Protocol on the establishment of the headquarters of certain institutions and of certain bodies, of-
fices, agencies and services of the European Union.
Organization and duties of the European Union institutions 63
and for well-founded reasons, the Council or the Committee of Permanent Rep-
resentatives of the governments of the Coreper Member States - acting unani-
mously, may decide that a meeting of the Council may take place elsewhere
1
.
4.2. Composition and organization of the Council
The representative in the Council should be empowered to engage the
government of the Member State, so not only the holders of the ministerial port-
folios, although they only carry out the national policy of a state in a certain area.
Therefore, governments can empower other senior officials than minis-
ters, and may attend council meetings, for example, deputies, state secretaries,
representatives of federal (land) or regional entities
2
. The meeting of the Council
"at the level of Heads of State and Government" of the Member States is ex-
cluded, unless the TEC itself expressly provided for this (these are the former
articles 121 and 122 articles TEC); the first Council decision "Brought together
at the state and government levels" was taken on May 3, 1998 to decide the list
of states that meet the conditions necessary for the adoption of the single currency
on January 1, 1999
3
.
The composition of the Council varies depending on the agenda of the
work, respectively on the subject in question, thus calling on different holders of
the ministerial departments to become successively part of the Council.
Thus, even if the Ministers of Foreign Affairs are considered, in princi-
ple, as the main representatives of the Member States in the Council, the practice
has enshrined, depending on the importance of certain areas or of the issues on
the agenda, the participation in these meetings and of other ministers (of agricul-
ture), of agriculture, of transport, of economy and of finances, of industry (called
specialized or sectoral councils), either with the ministers of Foreign Affairs, or,
most often, alone
4
. Because the meeting of "so many Sectoral Councils" led to
the elaboration of their own policies lacking unity and coherence, the Ministers
of Foreign Affairs met in the General Affairs Council formation to receive the
coordinating role of these sectoral formations
5
.
The Treaty of Lisbon enshrines the above practice and expressly pro-
vides: "The Council meets within the different formations", the list being adopted
by a qualified majority by the European Council in accordance with Article 236
TFEU [Article 16 (6) TEU]. Therefore, the European Council adopts:
a. a decision establishing the list of Council formations, other than that
of General Affairs and Foreign Affairs, according to art. 16 paragraph (6) TEU;
1
See art. 1 paragraph (3) of the Rules of Procedure of the Council.
2
See O. Manolache, op. cit., p. 111.
3
The Official Journal of the European Communities no. L 139/30 of May 11, 1998; to be seen G.
Isaac, M. Blanquet, Droit communautaire general, 8 éd, Dalloz, Paris, 2001, p. 51.
4
See G. Isaac, M. Blanquet, op. cit., p. 51; R. Munteanu, op. cit., p. 201.
5
Idem.

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