Event report: Grasping the European Council – Raising Awareness for a Key Institution

The Central Library attended the SUMMIT Kick-off Conference held in Brussels on 29 and 30 January 2016, under the slogan ‘Grasping the European Council – Raising Awareness for a Key Institution’ organised by the Jean Monnet Chair, University of Cologne, and the Trans European Policy Studies Association.

The two day conference provided ample opportunity to listen to a diverse range of thought-provoking seminars on research and practical experience regarding the European Council.

2016-week 08_SUMMIT-WesselsDay 1, Professor Wolfgang Wessels (University of Cologne) opened the conference by stating that the European Council’s dominant characteristic was its de facto influence that went beyond the actual wording of the Treaty articles. However, as a key European Union institution, it was still under-researched. The general public tends to know little about its work and its role in the wider EU institutional framework.

Professor Wessels expressed the view that any study of the European Council generate a sense of fascination and frustration. Therefore, there was a need to encourage more focus on the issue in research and teaching, and promote an academic and public debate on this key institution, with a view to exploring gaps and needs in research and in teaching activities and to producing teaching material on the European Council.

By organising the event in Brussels, SUMMIT ensured that those people with first-hand knowledge of the European Council’s work were able to take part in the debate. Professor Wessels explained that the conference was a kick-off event that will be followed by a series of roundtables held in a number of European cities. A set of online modules – including expert interviews, an online quiz game, academic publications and contributions to online news platforms – will help promote research and understanding of the role played by the institution.

The reports of the panels and pictures will be available on the website of the University of Cologne.

For further reading about the European Council, go to the Bibliography.

  • The Central Library located in the Justus Lipsius building, at JL 02 GH, Rue de la Loi 175, 1048 Brussels (Froissart entrance) – Opening hours Monday to Friday 11.00 – 15.00. It is open to all staff of the Council of the European Union and the European Council, trainees, Permanent Representations of Member States, staff of other EU Institutions and bodies, as well as to researchers and students (upon appointment by e-mail at central.library@consilium.europa.eu). Access to some Library holdings might be restricted to on-site consultation.

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