Member states shape EU policy by working within the Council of the European Union (or 'Council' for short). The Council is thus a central player in EU decision making. There are different Council formations (made up of ministers responsible for particular policy areas), one of which is the Environment Council. Over the years, the number of Environment Council meetings has increased signifcantly, although recently it has plateaued at around four formal meetings per year. The member governments' top political leaders meet in a different forum-the European Council-which until recently had little direct engagement with environmental issues. Nowadays, the European Council plays an important role in EU climate change policy in particular. The well-known environmental leader/pioneer-laggard dimension among different member states goes a long way towards explaining the dynamics within the Environment Council and the European Council, and EU environmental policy making more generally.
Wurzel, R. K. (2021). The Council, European Council and Member States. In A. Jordan, & V. Gravey (Eds.), Environmental Policy in the EU Actors, Institutions and Processes, 4th edition (75-92). Abingdon: Routledge