History of the European Council starts in 1961, year when the first two councils has held, respectively in Paris, France, and in Bonn, Germany. Quite important was the summit held in The Hague, Netherland, in 1969, after which the United Kingdom has been admitted into the Community and the first steps of integrations have been made.
The summits were formalised between 1974 and 1988. In the 1975 has been held in Dublin, on 10 and 11 March, the first European Council, one of the milestone of this body. This council had, in the following years, increasingly important roles in the EU, such as that in the Maastricht Treaty. This treaty is another important milestone for the Council, as for the first time was included in a treaty. It will happen again 20 years later, in the Treaty of Lisbon.
The seat of the Council was defined only in 2002 and as “capital” as been chosen Brussels. During first years the European Council met only twice a year, now there are six meetings each year. Depending on particular situations (such as the 9/11 attacks, the European Council can meet more often).
Among the most important meetings of European Council, we can have:
- Maastricht, 1991, agreement of the Maastricht Treaty
- Brussels, 1998, selection of initial member states to adopt the euro currency
- Lisbon, 2007, Lisbon Treaty
Quite important is the Treaty of Lisbon, which allow the European Council to become a real and formal institution of EU, distinct from the EU Council. This Treaty also allowed to elect the President of this body, which remain in office for two-and-a-half-years.