An important official institution of European Union is named, ‘the European Council’.
The European Council comprises President of European Council and that of European Commission, along with the heads of European Union member states and their respective governments. The European council is headed by its president and as of year 2009; ‘Herman Van Rompuy’ was the European Council’s President, who remains incumbent until 2012.
The person holding a special post termed as ‘High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy’, usually attends and presides over the European Council meetings. Usually elected through the system of qualified majority, the European Council President has a tenure that is renewable after every, two and a half years.
Charged under the treaty of Lisbon, the European Council has got no special or formal legislative powers. The informal functioning of the European Council began in the year 1974 and at that time, it was just a forum where the European Union leaders used to meet and discuss, issues pertaining to security, development and governance. European Council acquired a formal status in the year 1992and by the end of 2009; it got listed in European Union’s official institutions, when the ‘Lisbon Treaty’ came into effect.
Its major work includes guiding prominent European Union Institutions through general political directions, along with other priorities of the European Union. In other words, it is a vital institution of the European Union that mostly analyzes and strategizes directions, to cope with emerging situations. The European Council can be stated as the crisis solving body of the European Union, which acts as ‘collective presidency’ of the European Union. The European Council intervenes in certain critical situations, where the intergovernmental framework of cooperation and understanding is least effective.
The European Council meetings usually take place twice every six months and the president of the European Council can randomly convene a meeting if deemed necessary. The European Council meetings usually take place at the ‘Justus Lipsius building’, which is headquarter of the European Council and is located in Brussels, Belgium. The European Council acts, as the motor for European Integration and as mentioned in the Lisbon Treaty, shall provide the European Union with all the necessary impetus, for its wellbeing and development.
Numerous critical situations and complicated issues have been resolved with, the expertise and assistance of the European Council. Sensitive issues like Nuclear Security, tackling recession and signing treaties on stability, coordination and governance are just a few examples. Generally all the decisions of the European Council are unanimously approved by the members, but in case, if the treaties provide otherwise, the executive body explores avenues and ways to arrive to a at a final decision. Interestingly, the president of the European Council and that of the European Commission, along with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, can’t vote for decision making.
European Union leaders enjoy the support of some of the best official institutions of Europe, in deciding broader political priorities and major initiatives. A premier official institution that helps in resolving crisis and situations with, a great expertise and political acumen is the European Council, which strictly adheres to the objectives set by the Lisbon Treaty.