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The historical evolution of the Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers historically developed from the Special Council of Ministers that was part of European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).  It was designed to balance the supranational character of the High Authority, to ensure the say of smaller countries on matters notdirectly related to coal and steel and to prevent them from being overwhelmed by larger states.  Similar Councils of Ministers were part of the governing system of the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community Euratom. A qualified majority voting system was used by the six Member States, ensuring the balance of power between large (France, West Germany, Italy) and small states (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg). In 1967, the three Councils were merged into one Council of Ministers (McCormick, 2011, p.187).

 

Watch the video of the First Council of the EEC meeting in 1958 to get a better understanding of what the first meetings looked like and what character they had.

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