The European Council in Practice: The Evolving Functions of Summitry

  • Simon Bulmer
  • Wolfgang Wessels


The many issue areas in which the European Council has exercised an authoritative policy-making role clearly indicate its potential importance to the European Community. However, the details contained in Chapter 4 are not sufficiently qualitative or analytical to offer a thorough assessment of its performance. In this and the next chapter we shall attempt to analyse the European Council’s impact in two ways. First of all, we will assess how far the summit meetings have fulfilled the functions which have been attributed to them by the heads of government themselves. Secondly, we will look at the impact of the European Council on its institutional policy-making environment.


Policy Orientation European Council Informal Discussion Foreign Minister European Monetary System 
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Notes and References

  1. 4.
    This alternative explanation is outlined in a paper by J. P. Jacqué and D. Simon, ‘Le rôle constitutionnel et juridique du Conseil Européen’, presented at the conference on the European Council, 26–27 October 1984 in Kerkrade, Holland.Google Scholar
  2. 14.
    See H. Simonian, The Privileged Partnership: Franco-German Relations in the European Community 1969–1984 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985) especially chs. 7 and 8.Google Scholar
  3. 19.
    Decisions in principle on the creation of a European Foundation wre reached at Brussels (December, 1977) and Copenhagen (April, 1978). Final agreement was reached on the European Foundation by the Council of Ministers in March 1982, Bulletin of the EC, 1982, no. 3, p. 16.Google Scholar
  4. 20.
    See the chapters on the Benelux countries in: C. Hill (ed.), National Foreign Policies and European Political Co-operation (London: Allen and Unwin, 1983).Google Scholar
  5. 23.
    See the interim report to the 1984 Dublin European Council, Bulletin of the EC, 1984, no. 11, pp. 101–6. Other information on the exercise is contained in: R. Hrbek, ‘Welches Europa? Zum Zwischenbericht des Ad-Hoc-Ausschusses für institutionelle Fragen’, Integration, 1985, no. 1, pp. 3–10. The final report is in Bulletin of the EC, 1985, no. 3, pp. 102–11.Google Scholar
  6. 24.
    See progress reports in Observer, 20 October 1985; Guardian, 23 October 1985.Google Scholar
  7. 27.
    The guidelines were set by the European Council at The Hague (1976) and Rome (1977). More information on the EC’s preparation for the CIEC is in: S. Taylor, ‘EEC Co-ordination for the North-South Conference’, The World Today, XXXIII (1977), pp. 433–42.Google Scholar
  8. 31.
    Special loan facilities were made available to Ireland and Italy to assist their membership of the EMS — see: Ludlow, The Making of the European Monetary System, pp. 267–73 — but these were the subject of later negotiations in December 1978.Google Scholar
  9. 34.
    Comment of a British official at a colloquium on the European Council organised by the European Institute of Public Administration, Kerkrade, Holland, 26–27 October 1984.Google Scholar
  10. 35.
    G. Edwards, ‘Europe and the Falklands’, Journal of Common Market Studies, XXII (1984), pp. 295–313.Google Scholar
  11. 36.
    This view was expressed at the Kerkrade symposium — see note 34 — and some information is contained in The Times, 7 December 1983, which indicates that a declaration on the Turkish-Cypriot secession was one which the European Council was unable to issue.Google Scholar
  12. 38.
    On Ireland and the milk quota issue see The Times, 29 March 1984 and Observer, 25 March 1984.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Simon Bulmer and Wolfgang Wessels 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Bulmer
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Wessels
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Manchester Institute of Science and TechnologyUK
  2. 2.Institut für Europäische PolitikBonnGermany
  3. 3.College of EuropeBrugesBelgium

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