Wednesday, 8 July 2009

EU Council: Permanent Representatives and General Secretariat (207 TEC)

The EU Ambassadors of the member states and their deputies form the crucial link between the national capitals and the European Union preparing the ground for decisions by the Council. COREPER prepares and coordinates preparatory work and executes Council decisions.

The Council is assisted by a General Secretariat, and more detailed rules are laid down in the Council’s Rules of Procedure.


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Current TEC

The Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the member states is usually mentioned under its French acronym COREPER (Comité des représentants permanents). In a treaty based European Union joining member states, the EU Ambassadors and their substitutes constitute the crucial link between preparatory committees and working groups and the Council.

The Council is assisted by the General Secretariat.

The Council’s Rules of Procedure lay down more detailed rules.

These and the main provisions on access to Council documents are currently set out in Article 207 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) (in the latest consolidated version of the treaties, OJEU 29.12.2006 C 321 E/137-138):



Article 207 TEC

1. A committee consisting of the Permanent Representatives of the Member States shall be responsible for preparing the work of the Council and for carrying out the tasks assigned to it by the Council. The Committee may adopt procedural decisions in cases provided for in the Council's Rules of Procedure.

2. The Council shall be assisted by a General Secretariat, under the responsibility of a Secretary‑General, High Representative for the common foreign and security policy, who shall be assisted by a Deputy Secretary-General responsible for the running of the General Secretariat. The Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General shall be appointed by the Council acting by a qualified majority.

The Council shall decide on the organisation of the General Secretariat.

3. The Council shall adopt its Rules of Procedure.

For the purpose of applying Article 255(3), the Council shall elaborate in these Rules the conditions under which the public shall have access to Council documents. For the purpose of this paragraph, the Council shall define the cases in which it is to be regarded as acting in its legislative capacity, with a view to allowing greater access to documents in those cases, while at the same time preserving the effectiveness of its decision-making process. In any event, when the Council acts in its legislative capacity, the results of votes and explanations of vote as well as statements in the minutes shall be made public.


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Original Lisbon Treaty

Article 2, point 192 of the original Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) replaced Article 207 TEC by a new Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (OJEU 17.12.2007 C 306/105):


192) Article 207 shall be replaced by the following:

‘Article 207

1. A committee consisting of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States shall be responsible for preparing the work of the Council and for carrying out the tasks assigned to it by the latter. The Committee may adopt procedural decisions in cases provided for in the Council's Rules of Procedure.

2. The Council shall be assisted by a General Secretariat, under the responsibility of a Secretary-General appointed by the Council.

The Council shall decide on the organisation of the General Secretariat by a simple majority.

3. The Council shall act by a simple majority regarding procedural matters and for the adoption of its Rules of Procedure.’.


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The next posts look at the consolidated Lisbon Treaty and some detailed provisions on COREPER, the General Secretariat and access to documents, as well as information about Council activities.


Ralf Grahn