Sunday 13 June 2010

EU Council configurations and basic public information

Only the General Affairs Council (GAC) and the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) are directly mentioned in the Lisbon Treaty (Article 16(6) TEU). The list of the other Council configurations is adopted by the European Council, by a qualified majority (Article 236 TFEU).

Missing information

The web pages of the European Council and the Council of the European Union are unhelpful with regard to such basic public information as their respective Rules of Procedure and the decision on the other Council configurations, even if the names of the existing configurations are displayed on the Council’s website.

In my view, as a matter of transparency, public authorities should always hold the applicable rules readily available, at least if they believe in the rule of law.

It is hardly an excuse that the Commission is no better in this regard. The European Parliament’s Rules of Procedure are regularly updated and available on the EP web pages.

List of Council configurations

The list of Council configurations should be adopted by the European Council. However, the list was provisionally established by the GAC (reasons given), when the Lisbon Treaty entered into force:

DECISION OF THE COUNCIL (GENERAL AFFAIRS) 2009/878/EU of 1 December 2009 establishing the list of Council configurations in addition to those referred to in the second and third subparagraphs of Article 16(6) of the Treaty on European Union; published OJEU 2.12.2009 L 315/46.


1. General affairs

2. Foreign affairs

3. Economic and financial affairs

4. Justice and home affairs

5. Employment, social policy, health and consumer affairs

6. Competitiveness (internal market, industry and research)

7. Transport, telecommunications and energy

8. Agriculture and fisheries

9. Environment

10. Education, youth and culture

Council’s Rules of Procedure

According to the decision, the list was inserted in the Council’s Rules of Procedure, so these offer an alternative place to look for, and perhaps easier to remember:

COUNCIL DECISION 2009/937/EU of 1 December 2009 adopting the Council's Rules of Procedure; link to the consolidated version of [1 December 2009].

The list of Council configurations is set out in Annex I (page 16).

Ralf Grahn

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