The traditional cliché about the 1970s in Europe – that of a merely transitional decade characterised by stagnation – is now nuanced by historians.
This article deals with a significant institutional step in the history of European integration: the decision to hold EEC heads of state and government meetings on a regular basis.
This article explores three central issues of the European Council’s development, from its inception in 1974 until its constitutionalisation in 1986: the need for an approach encompassing globalisation and Europeanisation processes; the need to coordinate Community affairs and political cooperation; and finally the privileged capacity of heads of government to fulfil the two above-mentioned aims.
How did the emergence of the European Council (EUCO) affect an established order in a specific European policy area? This chapter shows the capacity of the EUCO, created in December 1974, to steer and change elements of the established order in one of these policy areas, namely European Political Co-operation (EPC).