Thursday 9 July 2009

Information about EU Council: Swedish Presidency and first aid

For the intrepid ones, who want to follow the work of the Council of the European Union, the Swedish Council Presidency offers the best website to date, and you can sign up for a continuing stream of news. The web pages are available in English, French and Swedish.


Council website

Presidencies come and go, but the Council remains. Long before the number of official languages rose to 23, the Council and the Court of Justice turned to an additional one to name their websites: Latin.

Thus, the web portal of the Council is Consilium and the homepage of the Court is called Curia.

The Council’s homepage is loaded with the latest news, such as conclusions by the Council configurations, but it also offers a number of thematic links or shortcuts to various policy areas.

Even if the Council produces about a hundred documents a day, one gets the feeling that final decisions are the strong point – after the fact.

The processes and real debates within the Council remain opaque, so it remains like a darkroom of old times. You find the Commission proposal, if there is one, and you see the final result, but despite deliberation in public the forces at work are hidden from public view, or they require dedicated research.


First aid

Officially, the Council of the European Union is dedicated to openness.

As a first aid to students and others, who want to find documents or other information, the Council has published a leaflet with systematic information:

How to get information on the activities of the Council of the European Union (latest update January 2009).

The useful brochure offers brief information and links to the Council’s website, public deliberations and debates, news, access to public documents, enquiries about the Council and visits to the Council.

Ralf Grahn

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