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The European Council and the CouncilNew intergovernmentalism and institutional change$
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Uwe Puetter

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198716242

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716242.001.0001

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The Council: from Law-making to Policy Coordination

The Council: from Law-making to Policy Coordination

(p.148) 4 The Council: from Law-making to Policy Coordination
The European Council and the Council

Uwe Puetter

Oxford University Press

The most senior Council configurations—the Economic and Financial Affairs Council and the Foreign Affairs Council—as well as the Eurogroup, are charged with policy coordination rather than with law-making. They work under the direct supervision of the European Council and meet more frequently than any other Council formation. The shift in focus towards policy coordination and deliberation has been reflected in a series of attempts at institutional engineering, which were aimed at enhancing informal working methods and face-to-face debates between ministers. Council reform was most successful in areas where the distinction between coordination and law-making was particularly pronounced. The case of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, instead, reveals the differences in the two modes of decision-making. Policy coordination within the Council is backed by an increasingly sophisticated system of coordination comitology, which links member state administrations and Commission resources.

Keywords:   Council reform, Economic and Financial Affairs Council, Foreign Affairs Council, Eurogroup, Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, comitology, informal working method

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