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TRACK | Teaching and Researching the European Council

Teaching and Researching the European Council: Enhancing and disseminating knowledge on a key institution in challenging times

TRACK responds to the ongoing need to provide regular offers for teaching and research on the European Council (EUCO) as a key institution.
The project runs from 1 September 2019 until 31 August 2021.

Why studying the European Council?

The European Council (EUCO) is a key institution of the EU and is involved in all major decisions on enlargement, treaty reform or foreign policy.
Over its history, several generations of EU leaders have used the EUCO in several roles:

  • as a constitutional architect,
  • master of enlargement,
  • ‘gouvernement économique’ in the making,
  • collective voice in external actions,
  • pre-constitutional and pre-legislative norm setter in the area of Freedom, Security and Justice,
  • an electoral body and
  • in exercising the power of the purse in the agreements on the own resources and the MFF.

The EUCO has developed a de-facto power beyond the legal words.
In the third elective cycle after the Lisbon treaty, the challenges for EU leaders to reach consensus on vital issues are evident. With upcoming challenges in the next years (Brexit, the unsolved migration policies, the reform of the Eurozone, the consequences of the EP election, new presidents of the Commission, the EUCO and the ECB as well as a new High Representative), the search for consensus on the post-2020 budget and many unknown international and internal challenges, the EU leaders’ agenda will be confronted with considerable issues to be tackled.
It is thus of high political relevance to focus on the EUCO’s actual role in EU policy-making and in the shaping of the EU’s future.

How to study the European Council?

TRACK’s analyses and assesses evidence of the EUCO activities using five analytical dimensions:

  1. history, 
  2. real world functions,
  3. internal patterns of decision-making,
  4. impact on the EU’s institutional architecture, and
  5. lessons for teaching and research including controversial assessments which are based on different theoretical and political approaches.


Find out more about the European Council