The scheduling power of the EU Council Presidency


Does the Presidency of the Council of the European Union have the ability to direct the political attention of this body by emphasizing and de-emphasizing policy issues according to its own priorities? This study examines this question empirically by relying on a new dataset on the monthly meeting duration of Council working parties in different policy areas between 1995 and 2014. The results of variance component analyses show that a considerable part of the over-time variation in the relative amount of political attention devoted to a policy area is systematically related to different Presidency periods. While not negating the constraints imposed on the Presidency by inherited agendas, programming and co-ordination requirements with other actors, the findings are consistent with the view that the Presidency has substantial scope for agenda-setting by determining what issues are being discussed, when they are being discussed and how much time is devoted for their discussion.

Journal of European Public Policy 24(5): 695-713
Frank M. Häge
Frank M. Häge
Political Scientist

Senior Lecturer at the University of Limerick. Interested in Legislative Politics, European Union Politics, and Historical Political Economy.