Council of Ministers and European Council

Jeffrey Lewis

in The Oxford Handbook of the European Union

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199546282
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 Council of Ministers and European Council

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The EU's Council system is designed to represent national interests and make joint decisions. Descriptively, the Council is a composite organization of committee governance made up of multiple parts, from the heads of state and government who constitute European Council summits to national ministers meeting in different policy configurations of the Council of the European Union, down to the national experts who comprise working groups and discuss the minutiae of legislative proposals. This article is organized as follows. Section 23.1 looks at the hybrid institutional qualities of the Council in greater detail and examines the deliberate efforts to instil a consensus-inducing environment for joint decision making. Section 23.2 analyses how the Council has evolved internally, in relations with other key EU institutions such as the European Parliament, and in the wake of Eastern enlargement. Finally, a brief conclusion reiterates key themes, and underscores the value of pluralistic theories and methods in Council research.

Keywords: EU Council system; committee governance; consensus; joint decision making

Article.  6963 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; European Union ; Political Institutions

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