Analysis of Development Co-operation
 
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Article 15

1. 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.

2. The European Council shall consist of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States, together with its President and the President of the Commission. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy shall take part in its work.

3. The European Council shall meet twice every six months, convened by its President. When the agenda so requires, the members of the European Council may decide each to be assisted by a minister and, in the case of the President of the Commission, by a member of the Commission. When the situation so requires, the President shall convene a special meeting of the European Council.

4. Except where the Treaties provide otherwise, decisions of the European Council shall be taken by consensus.

5. The European Council shall elect its President, by a qualified majority, for a term of two and a half years, renewable once. In the event of an impediment or serious misconduct, the European Council can end the President's term of office in accordance with the same procedure.

6. The President of the European Council:

(a) shall chair it and drive forward its work;

(b) shall ensure the preparation and continuity of the work of the European Council in cooperation with the President of the Commission, and on the basis of the work of the General Affairs Council;

(c) shall endeavour to facilitate cohesion and consensus within the European Council;

(d) shall present a report to the European Parliament after each of the meetings of the European Council.

The President of the European Council shall, at his level and in that capacity, ensure the external representation of the Union on issues concerning its common foreign and security policy, without prejudice to the powers of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The President of the European Council shall not hold a national office.

Background

  • Introduces the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
  • The High Representative will take part in European Council meetings.
  • The President of the European Commission will have the right to be assisted by a member of the Commission when the European Council agenda so requires.
  • The heads of state and government of the EU Member States will elect a full-time President of the European Council for a two-and-a-half-year term. (S)he may re-elected once.
  • The President of the European Council will chair the meetings and may represent the EU externally on issues relating to the Common Foreign and Security Policy 'without prejudice to the power of the High Representative.

Comments

  • The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy replaces both the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy - introduced in the Treaty of Amsterdam, and the Commissioner for External Relations. These two positions are currently held by Javier Solana and Benita Fererro-Waldner respectively.
  • The fact that the High Representative will take part in European Council meetings may provide opportunities for development cooperation and humanitarian aid concerns to be better reflected in the work of the EU heads of state and government.
  • By combining the roles of both the Council and the Commission in the High Representative, the Council could potentially gain executive powers (as opposed to the legislative powers which it has at present). This could begin to blur the division of powers within the EU's institutional framework.
  • The Commissioner(s) responsible for development cooperation and humanitarian aid should be invited to participate in European Council meetings whenver issues relating to these policy areas are on the agenda. If all external policies are to be on an equal footing with the CFSP then it is important that the participation of the High Representative is not used as an excuse for not inviting the Commissioners responsible for other external policies.
  • Paragaph 6 clearly limits the external role of the President of the European Council to CFSP issues. Other external policies, inclusing development cooperation, humanitarian aid and external trade, continue to be Community policies to be determined by co-decision (Council and European Parliament).

Replaces

This article draws on Article 4 TEU