Chapter 1.3 - The European Council - The European Council...

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The European Council Introduction The European Council comprises of the Heads of Government of the Member States, its President and the President of the Commission: Article 15(2) TEU . It is a separate institution from the Council of Ministers. It is to meet at least four times per year, although additional meetings can be convened if necessary: Article 15(3) TEU . The Lisbon Treaty sets out a change of gear for the European Council. For the first time it is formally recognized as an institution of the European Union: Article 13 TEU. It is no longer confined to setting out guidelines for the Union, but is now to define its directions and priorities. Article 15(1) states: ‘The European Council shall provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development, and shall define the general political directions and priorities thereof. It shall not exercise legislative functions.’ The last sentence clearly indicates that the European Council is not trespass on the Commission’s traditional prerogatives to propose legislation. Powers of the European Council 1 st Power The first set of powers enjoyed by the European Council may be described as constitution-making powers. It makes decisions about the future shape and membership of the European Union. It is the European Council, therefore, which makes the decision to suspend the membership of a state: Article 7 (3) TEU 2 nd Power The most important power enjoyed by the European Council is the power to instigate treaty reform. Following the Lisbon Treaty there are now two procedures for this. Ordinary revision procedure; and Simplified revision procedure. Ordinary Revision Procedure In the ordinary revision procedure, after consulting other EU institutions, it can call, by a simple majority, either a convention along the lines of the Future of Europe Convention or an intergovernmental conference. These will put forward amendments which have to be ratified by all Member States in accordance with the Constitutional requirements: Article 48(2)—(4) TEU .
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Simplified Revision Procedure This allows the European Council, after consulting the other EU institutions, to amend Part III of the TFEU on Internal Policies of the European Union , although any such amendment must not increase EU competences. Any amendment cannot enter into force until ratified by all Member States in accordance with their constitutional requirements: Article 48(6) TEU .
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