Lisbon Treaty: President of the European Council

Article 9 B [15] [new article] presented and discussed below


5. The European Council shall elect its President, by a qualified majority, for a term of two and a half years, renewable once. In the event of an impediment or serious misconduct, the European Council can end  his term of office in accordance with the same procedure.

6. The President of the European Council:

(a) shall chair it and drive forward its work;

(b) shall 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;

(c) shall endeavour to facilitate cohesion and consensus within the European Council;

(d) shall present a report to the European Parliament after each of the meetings of the European Council.

The President of the European Council shall, at his level and in that capacity, 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.

The President of the European Council shall not hold a national office.


YES: The Article is careful to ensure the new council President is not a ‘President of Europe' and has no executive powers. They will simply be a chairperson of the council. (Fine Gael). The new full-time President of the European Council will not be a powerful, executive post, in effect all this will mean is that there will be an independent Chairperson chairing the meetings of the European Council as happens in many other organisations. (Irish Alliance For Europe)

NO: Here, a key positon is chosen by the unaccountable European Council, removing a key role from democratic accountability (Sinn Fein).

Commentary: This arises from a sense that the European Council, which decides the strategic direction of the EU, was hampered by six monthly rotational changes of President. The appointment of a full-time President, effectively, for a five year period, should give greater cohesion and drive to the Union, for this will be no mere administrative, co-ordinating role. However, it means that an important office is unelected, thereby diluting some of the democratising impact of other reforms.