In a European Union based on the member states, the intergovernmental European Council and the Council, part legislative and part executive, are the most important tandem in the “institutional triangle”, which includes the European Commission and the European Parliament.
For those, who want to know more than most general EU textbooks offer, the Council has published: An introduction to the Council of the European Union (2008; 68 pages).
The Introduction, which rejects the description of the Council as intergovernmental and sees it as a supranational institution, is available on the Council’s web pages and at the EU Bookshop.
The Contents of the Introduction offer a picture of what the publication is about:
Chapter 1 - The Council and the people working in it
Chapter 2 - The special role of the European Council
The EU’s helmsman
Chapter 3 - The Council at work
The Council as a legislative body
Chapter 4 - In partnership
The Council’s relations with the other European Union institutions and bodies
Chapter 5 - Promoting prosperity and preserving peace
The Council’s role in external relations
Chapter 6 - Supporting growth and employment
The Council and economic policy
Chapter 7 - Establishing an area of freedom, security and justice
The Council’s role in justice and home affairs
Chapter 8 - Looking to the future
As a public relations brochure, the Introduction to the Council of the European Union is somewhat Panglossian in style, but it presents the facts correctly and the language is accessible for general readers.