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Assessing Origins, Developments and International Relevance of the European Council. Intergovernmental summits in historical and international comparison.

Mario Telò

Abstract


Abstract

This article draws the reader’s attention on the increasing relevance of the European Council both within the European construction process and for comparative studies. Firstly, it shows that a long durée approach brings evidences that the European Council represents the legacy of centuries of international multilateral cooperation. Since the ‘Concert of Europe’ a shared diplomatic culture emerged, based on self-restraint, moderation, conflict prevention and settlement, although this was increasingly undermined by soft institutionalisation, hierarchies and rigid alliances. 1945 was a turning point, allowing for enhanced supranational institutionalization, and sovereignty sharing or pooling that gave rise to the foundation of the European communities in 1950 and 1957. However, since 1974, the SEA and the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, started a gradual process of integration of the European Council ‒ as the politically leading body ‒ within a mixed and sophisticated institutional system, merging intergovernmental and supranational rules and procedures. Secondly, in the post-Cold War international context, the European Council is the most relevant comparative issue between the EU and regional organisations developing in other continents. Similarities and diversities are analysed according to the ‘new regionalist’ paradigm. Historical institutionalism proves to be a useful theoretical framework to act as a bridge between EU studies and comparative regional research.

Keywords: European Union, intergovernamentalism, multilateralism, regional organisations

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Bibliography: Telò, Mario: Assessing Origins, Developments and International Relevance of the European Council. Intergovernmental summits in historical and international comparison., ERIS, 2-2015, pp. 40-65.
https://doi.org/10.3224/eris.v2i2.20679

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