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The Council, European Council and Member States

Wurzel, Rüdiger K.W.


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Professor Rudi Wurzel
Professor of Comparative European Politics and Jean Monnet Chair in European Union Studies.


Andrew Jordan

Viviane Gravey


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

Acceptance Date Nov 26, 2020
Online Publication Date May 6, 2021
Publication Date May 4, 2021
Deposit Date Dec 23, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 5, 2022
Publisher Routledge
Pages 75-92
Book Title Environmental Policy in the EU Actors, Institutions and Processes, 4th edition
Chapter Number 5
ISBN 9780429688669; 9781138392144; 9781138392168
Keywords Environmental policy; European Council; Council of the European Union; Member States
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