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General Secretariat

The General Secretariat is the bureaucracy of the Council, made up of about 3,000 employees and headed by the secretary general appointed by the Council of Ministers (McCormick, 2011B, p.193).

Its main functions are:

  • preparing the meetings
  • legal support to the Councils and COREPER
  • managing the Council’s budget
  • providing support to the Presidency of the Council
  • giving briefings to the Council about the status of the items on meeting agenda

As summed up by McCormick, the General Secretariat: ‘generally gives the work of the Council some continuity’ and, as he points out, from originally providing secretarial assistance it has moved towards more political functions (2011b, p.193).

To find out a little more about the influence of the General Secretariat on the decision-making read the following article: Christiansen, T. (2002). Out of the shadows: The general secretariat of the Council of Ministers. Journal of Legislative Studies, 8(4), 80-97.  DOI: 10.1080/13572330200870006

Note: University of Portsmouth students: please login to use this resource. Other students: it is likely that you can access this resource using the login from your own institution. If this is not possible then please use the open access alternative summary of the conclusions of this article.

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