The European Council

AuthorIoana Nely Militaru
ProfessionPhD is Associate Professor at the Law Department of the Bucharest University of Economic Studies
Chapter 3. The European Council
3.1. Regulation of the institution of the European Council prior to
the Lisbon Treaty
The legal basis of the European Council is included in the following
- art. 13 TEU;
- art. 15, art. 26, art. 27 and art. 42 paragraph (2) TFEU.
The European Council, composed of the Heads of State and Govern-
ment, should not be confused with the Council (European Union), consisting of
one representative from each Member State, at ministerial level, empowered (em-
powered) to engage the government of this Member State (art. 16 TEU), or with
the Council of Europe, established in 1949, which was confined to the social-
cultural domain.
By the Treaty of Maastricht, in art. D which has almost identical resump-
tion of the provisions of the Single Act - the European Council acquires an official
status. Its role is to give the necessary impetus to the development of the Union
and to define its general guidelines. The European Council does not participate
in the formal decision-making process established by the Community treaties. It
is a political decision only, and the task of implementing Community policy lies
with the Community institutions, in particular the EU Council.
In this area, TMs, in art. 13 paragraph (1) and (2), specifies the role of
the European Council, because in paragraph (3) to specify how it works with the
EU Council in the implementation of the Community policy, as follows:
- defines the general principles and guidelines of the common foreign
and security policy, including for problems that have implications in the field of
- establishes common strategies that will be implemented at Union level,
in areas where Member States have important common interests. The joint strat-
egies shall specify their objectives and duration, as well as the means to be pro-
vided by the Union and the Member States;
The way the European Council works with the EU Council in/and for the
implementation of the Community policy is as follows:
- the decisions needed to define and implement the common foreign and
security policy are taken by the EU Council, based on the general guidelines es-
tablished by the European Council;
- The EU Council recommends common strategies for the European
Council and implements them, in particular by adopting joint actions and com-
mon positions;
- The EU Council ensures the unity, coherence and effectiveness of the

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