Home / Europe 2020 / Seminar EU-Governance 2020 / Reforming the Council today to reorganize the European institutions tomorrow

Seminar EU-Governance 2020 / Reforming the Council today to reorganize the European institutions tomorrow

Paris (Centre Kléber), May 16, 2002



Organised with the support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Seminar’s executive summary


This seminar takes place as part of the series of the EU / Governance 2020 Anticipation Seminars which were initiated in 1999 (organized within the EU) ; referring also to the new cycle of EU / Candidate Countries Anticipation Seminars launched in 2000 (organized in the CEECs).

The message of the Laeken Summit, the launch of the Convention, the Euro-Switch for all citizens of the EU and tomorrow the enlargement, open a new era for the European Union and its institutions.

At the heart of these institutions there is the European Council and the Council of Ministers, combining legislative and executive powers, representing both the member-States and the superior interests of the Union, gathering the national administrations and answering for the EU democracy (elected leaders of the national executives).

The predictable increase in the number of member-States, the higher-degree of complexity of decision-making procedures between the institutions, the stronger efficiency-requirement resulting from the growing importance of the powers and competences shared between the EU and the member-States, and the growing demand for more democratic legitimacy of the European institutions, all these elements require an in-depth revision of the Council, and of the other EU institutions.

Thinking this reorganisation will probably take two forms mainly :

- a process of reform, already started, designed to solve the most urgent problems; essentially a short-term procedure (2002-2006)

- a more in-depth process of reorganisation, conducted together with a general rethinking of the European institutional system, to be completed by 2006/2010, with the aim to get the EU prepared for the next two decades.

The first process is mostly a reactive exercise resulting from the growing pressure put by an overloaded Council, aware to be trapped by outdated forms and methods inherited from the past history of the EU.

The second process is fundamentally an anticipation exercise designed to identify the constraints that will weigh tomorrow on the EU institutional system, and to find the forms and procedures most adapted to answer durably those constraints.

This one-day long seminar aims at highlighting both processes, exploring the second to take care that the first is made compatible with the future evolutions.

Europe 2020 will take care that a multilingual Executive Summary of the debates is circulated among the various EU institutions, the Convention on the Future of Europe and the European opinion relays.

Morning : The Council’s reform by 2005/2006 : Challenges and constraints

Après-midi : What Council by 2020 ?

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