Although the European Council was not one of the original institutions of the EU, the Heads of States and Governments had been meeting informally since the beginning in order to discuss the direction of European integration and possible compromise. In such a way, important political decisions about the future of the European Community have been made.


The first European Council meeting took place in 1975 when nine Heads of States and Governments met in Dublin. The regularity of meetings and their new status made a fundamental difference to the institutional framework.

In the 1970s, however, and after the Luxembourg comprise of 1965 caused a deadlock in decision making, the need for better leadership of the Community was recognised. To solve the deadlock issue, the informal chats among the Heads of the Governments and States were transformed into regular meetings as decided at the Paris Summit in 1964 (Schoutheete, 2012, p.45). According to some, however, the decision to create the European Council was also influenced by political leaders themselves: Valery Giscard d’Estaing, the President of the French Republic, and Helmut Schmidt, the West German Chancellor, wanted to have bigger influence on European affairs (Schoutheete, 2012, p.46).

<< Previous                                    Next >>