Skip to main content

EC President

Volume 474: debated on Monday 31 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received on the proposed (a) responsibilities, (b) duties and (c) powers of the President of the European Council; if he will place in the Library copies of such representations; and if he will make a statement. (196092)

The Government strongly support a full-time President of the European Council, who will replace the current rotating President of the European Council, who changes every six months. The Lisbon treaty is clear (Article 1(16)(6), Consolidated Treaty Article 15(6) Treaty of the European Union) that the full-time President of the European Council will:

chair the European Council and drive forward its work;

ensure the preparation and continuity of the work of the European Council in cooperation with the President of the Commission, and on the basis of the work of the General Affairs Council;

endeavour to facilitate cohesion and consensus within the European Council;

present a report to the European Parliament after each of the meetings of the European Council;

ensure the external representation of the Union on issues concerning its common foreign and security policy, without prejudice to the powers of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; and

assist the General Affairs Council with ensuring follow-up to meetings of the European Council.

This broadly reflects the current role of the President of the European Council in practice. Having a full-time President of the European Council will bring greater coherence and consistency to the EU's actions; and will give member states greater capacity to give direction and momentum to the EU's agenda.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether (a) hon. Members, (b) members of the House of Lords and (c) members of the public will be able to submit nominations for the post of the President of the European Council; what recent representations he has received on this issue; and if he will make a statement. (196093)

The full-time President of the European Council will be chosen by, and accountable to, the Heads of State or Government.

Having a full-time President of the European Council will bring greater coherence and consistency to the EU's actions; and will give member states greater capacity to give direction and momentum to the EU's agenda.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations have been received on procedures for the appointment of the President of the European Council; what criteria he proposes to adopt for nominating any candidate for the post of President of the European Council; and if he will make a statement. (196094)

The Government support a full-time President of the European Council to replace the current rotating President of the European Council, who changes every six months. He or she will be chosen by heads of state and Government by qualified majority, and will be accountable to them.

The full-time President of the European Council will not hold a national mandate and will be excluded from holding the post of President of the European Commission at the same time.

Having a full-time President of the European Council will bring greater coherence and consistency to the EU's actions; and will give member states greater capacity to give direction and momentum to the EU's agenda.