Volume 49 (2012) / Issue 3
One of the most salient innovations provided for by the Treaty of Lisbon has been the creation of a "semi-permanent" or "stable" Presidency of the European Council. This paper offers a legal appraisal of the Union's system of government in the post-Lisbon setting, focused on the role and powers of the refurbished European Council Presidency. It combines an unravelling of the black-letter competences with some extensive analysis of their exercise in practice, aiming to scrutinize the internal dynamics of the office, as well as its interaction with other actors and bodies. It begins by sketching the general background to the new office, taking a mildly unorthodox view of its origin, coming into being and popular terminology. This is followed by an analysis of the modalities for the President's election and dismissal, and an investigation of how the appointment procedure was put into operation for the first time. It then proceeds to gauge his competences, sketching their formal purview as well as (the limits to) their actual exercise. Finally, it subjects the inter-institutional linkages to review, in an attempt to assess how other actors measure up to the new office. In combination, these reflections provide the reader with a picture of the President's position within the wider constitutional framework.
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