Sunday 22 October 2017

EPRS: keeping tabs on the European Council

The blog posts European Council: United we’re stuck? and European Council: Leaders’ Agenda presented facts and expressed doubts regarding the efforts of the EUCO president Donald Tusk to overcome paralysis or stagnation among the heads of state or government.

It remains to be seen, if the Bratislava implementation report, the description in the invitation letter and the timetable downloadable from EUCO’s Leaders’ Agenda web page, are going to turn the European Council into the impetus provider they imagined in Article 15(1) TEU, or remain an impetus taker and the main obstacle among the EU institutions and others in the quest for a better future of Europe.

The first meeting on Tusk’s list was the October 2017 European Council.

October 2017 European Council

The European Parliament is not only an initiator of EU reform, but the institution representing the citizens of the union keeps tabs on what the European Commission (promoting the general interest) and the intergovernmental institutions - the Council of the European Union and the European Council - do. Instrumental is the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), which publishes studies, evaluations, fact sheets and briefings.

Ahead of the October 2017 European Council and with a view to the proposed Leaders’ Agenda, the European Parliamentary Research Service Blog published a background post on what makes it to the EUCO agenda and why, as well as an outlook for the European Council meeting 19-20 October 2017 (including the Article 50 TEU, i.e. Brexit part), also in a more easy to read briefing form (pdf), plus links to three other publications: an updated check-list of European Council conclusions, a briefing on the European Council and the 2017 State of the Union proposals, and a list of the current members of the European Council.

They are all relevant references beyond the EUCO meeting, although here I single out the Pre-European Council briefing (outlook), which can be read as a background note to the European Council conclusions 19 October 2017 EUCO 14/17 and 20 October 2017 (Article 50) EUCO XT 20014/17, regarding migration, digital Europe (in the aftermath of the Tallinn Digital Summit, the jewel in the crown of the Estonian presidency of the EU Council), security and defence with a view to launching a Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) before the end of the year, and external relations, which were discussed during the first day.

The briefing note (outlook) point 7 and the EU27 conclusions regarding the Article 50 TEU UK withdrawal (Brexit) negotiations can also be read in parallel. However, for this blog the EPRS briefing point 6, regarding the Future of Europe (discussed informally by EUCO), is of special interest, although by now we have the Leaders’ Agenda.

Ralf Grahn

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