The characteristics of the European Council

How did the European Council develop all these functions and powers? This is due to its characteristics:

  • Authority: national ultimate decision-makers brought together in a European context
  • Informality: the principle of privacy and direct contact
  • Flexibility: the rules of procedure are relatively flexible
  • Seniority: the balance of power in the European Council (new members and smaller countries have less influence)
  • Intergovernmental character: some participants have more power than others

(Schoutheete, 2012, p.54)


Use the information on this page and on previous pages to define the functions of the European Council and think how they link to its key characteristics.



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