The European Council is one of the most important institutions of the European Union. The Treaty of Lisbon, which amends the two treaties at the basis of the EU, was signed by EU member states on the 13th December 2007, gave the European Council the power the definy the general political directions of the EU and its priorities.
The president of the European Council is elected on a once-renewable term for a two and half period period. Currently the president is Herman Van Rompuy, belgian, the first full time European Council president. Main tasks regards preparation for meetings of European Council. He only has the power to represent the European Council and has no executive powers.
Other members are Prime Ministers or Chancellors of each state, such as italian currently Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, british currently Prime Minister, David Cameron and German currently chancellor, Angela Merkel.
European Council defines the EU agenda in terms of politics and is considered to be very important in terms of European integration, which is basically the process of integration (political, economic, industrial, cultural and social) among the differents states which form the EU itself. Here are other powers this institution has:
- the power of appointment (the European Council can appoint, among the other roles, its president, the President of the European Central Bank who currently is Mario Draghi)
- the power to influence foreign policy of member states
- the power to influence police planning and justice planning
- the composition of the Commission
- the suspension of membership rights for each member state