The European Council’s Major Decisions: A Decade of Stabilisation and Integration

  • Simon Bulmer
  • Wolfgang Wessels


During the course of their 33 sessions culminating in that in Luxembourg 1985, the government heads have dealt with a broad range of issues.1 These have covered nearly all the politically salient topics of the 1975–85 period. Although no European problem area was excluded there was, nevertheless, a clear set of priorities reflecting both the concerns of the (changing) government heads and specific Community problems. Throughout its first decade the European Council’s agenda had a significant ‘Community bias’. It was not, therefore, a mirror image of the national and international political agenda. Furthermore, the ‘Community bias’ did not remain constant, rather it increased from 1979 onwards. In fact, three major periods may be traced, during which different priorities characterised the European Council’s work.


European Council European Monetary System International Monetary System Common Fishery Policy Package Deal 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    A detailed examination of each session of the European Council from Dublin 1975 until Brussels 1978 is contained in Wessels, Der Europäische Rat, pp. 140–257. From 1980 onwards, see the annual review of the European Council in W. Weidenfeld and W. Wessels (eds), Jahrbuch der Europäischen Integration 1980 (Bonn: Europa Union Verlag, 1981) and successor volumes. The conclusions of the presidency are contained in the Bulletin of the EC covering the time period during which the sessions were held.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See the article by G. Denton, ‘Re-Structuring the EC Budget: Implications of the Fontainebleau Agreement’, Journal of Common Market Studies, XXII (1984), pp. 117–40.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    See Wessels, Der Europäische Rat, pp. 238–44; Putnam and Bayne, Hanging Together, pp. 80–99.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    On the New Community Instrument, see J. Pelkmans, Market Integration in the European Community (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1984), pp. 276–7.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    H. Krägenau, ‘Wirtschaftspolitik’ in Wessels and Weidenfeld, Jahrbuch der Europäischen Integration 1981 (Bonn: Europa Union Verlag, 1982), pp. 168–9.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    On the creation of the EMS see Ludlow, The Making of the European Monetary System, and J. Carr, ‘Des Europäische Währungssystem und nationale Interessen — der US-Dollar als externer Föderator’ in H.-E. Scharrer and W. Wessels (eds), Das Europäische Währungssystem, Bilanz eines Experiments (Bonn: Europa Union Verlag, 1982).Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    Ludlow, The Making of the European Monetary System, illustrates in his study some of the points outlined in the section in Chapter 3 on decision-making.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Contrary to the EC’s wish to avoid setting national targets for member states, this point was conceded at the Tokyo Western economic summit: G. Garavoglia, ‘From Rambouillet to Williamsburg: an historical assessment’ in Merlini, Economic Summits and Western Decision-Making, p. 21.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    See W. Wallace’s chapter on EPC in Wallace, Wallace and Webb, Policy-Making in the European Community, p. 305.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    On the impact of the Venice Declaration, see D. Allen and A. Pijpers, European Foreign Policy-Making and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1984).Google Scholar
  11. 19.
    On the role of distributional issues in the European Council see S. Bulmer, ’The European Council’s First Decade: Between Interdependence and Domestic Politics’, Journal of Common Market Studies XXIV (1985), pp. 89–104.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Simon Bulmer and Wolfgang Wessels 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Bulmer
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Wessels
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Manchester Institute of Science and TechnologyUK
  2. 2.Institut für Europäische PolitikBonnGermany
  3. 3.College of EuropeBrugesBelgium

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