Mission Statement & Scope European Council Studies

by EuroComment and Leuven University Press

European Council Studies, previously known as EuroComment’s Pre-Summit Briefings and European Council Notes, are uniquely valuable. Launched twenty years ago and based on a wide range of published and unpublished sources, including interviews with key players, they provide a continuous, highly readable and independent narrative of the politics and policies of the European Council, the EU’s principal decision-making institution.

Composed of the head of state or government of every member state and the president of the European Commission and chaired by a full-time president, the European Council determines the strategy of the Union, supervises its implementation by and through both the EU institutions and the member states and acts as the EU’s crisis manager. It has been responsible for all the most important strategic decisions of the last four decades, including the revision and extension of the Union’s basic treaties, successive enlargements, the launching of the single market, the adoption of the Union’s multiannual budgets, the establishment of the euro and the definition of the EU’s external priorities. It has also more recently played the leading role in formulating and implementing the EU’s response to the euro crisis, the migration crisis and Brexit. In and through each episode, the European Council has furthermore developed and modified the way in which the EU is governed.

The Summit Briefings and European Council Notes, which cover every European Council meeting, can serve both as an authoritative source of information about current affairs, as a reference work which will remain relevant for years and even decades after the events which the Notes describe and, more fundamentally still, as the story of the development of a unique system of government, of which the European Council is the central component.

This journal by Leuven University Press should be of interest to everybody inside or outside government who is involved in or with the European Union.



Peter Ludlow is an exceptionally shrewd observer of the European Council meetings, the main political stage of the Union. Like no-one else he understands the mechanisms of undertaking decisions and what happens behind the scenes before they are taken. Only he is able to write about them with such surgical precision, compellingly and with a great sense of humour.
- President Donald Tusk, Former President of the European Council, President of the EPP Political Group

No one will be able to write a history of the European Council, and therefore of the Union, without consulting Peter Ludlow's Eurocomments. An invaluable source of information and insight. Herman Van Rompuy, President Emeritus European Council, Minister of State, President of the European Policy Centre

For anybody trying to understand what is going on in "Brussels" behind the scene and why decisions are taken Peter Ludlow's reports are indispensable. - Otmar Issing, Goethe University, Former Chief Economist and Member of the Board of the ECB

EuroComment’s notes are an extraordinary window on Europe’s top table. Everybody who knows how closely they are read by summit participants understands their unrivalled value.Alex Barker, Financial Times and former head of the FT’s Brussels Bureau

The EuroComment briefings are the closest that one can get to being in the room during European Councils and the preparation. In doing extensive field research on the European Council and its role in crisis governance in the past decade, we have found numerous other forms of evidence that always corroborated the accounts by Ludlow. Well-written and focused on key developments, the briefings are an invaluable account of what took place behind closed doors, and why.Derek Beach, Professor of Political Science at Aarhus University

These outstanding briefings seem to sweep us right into the Europa building for a seat at the table with the European Council. Perhaps more importantly, they always offer clear and thoughtful insight on the positions, interests and objectives of the leaders there gathered, and of their teams behind the scenes, in Brussels and in their capitals.Dan Costello, Canadian ambassador to the EU, 2015-2019

Kremlinology is a dead science, but Justuslipsiusology (it has kept its old name despite the change of building) is thriving, with Peter Ludlow and his team as undisputed masters. Their accounts of the EU summits are true European public goods. - Jean Pisani-Ferry, Founding Director and Senior Fellow, Bruegel Institute, Professor at the European University Institute in Florence and at Sciences Po in Paris.

The Eurocomment briefings provide essential insights to the operations of the European Council. Those interested in detailed, behind-the-scenes accounts of European Council negotiations would benefit greatly from consulting these briefings.Michele Chang, Professor at College of Europe



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