Written by Joséphine Vanden Broucke, Susanna Tenhunen, Stanislas de Finance, Ralf Drachenberg and Izabela Cristina Bacian
European leaders meet at least four times a year and their decisions are important for all of Europe’s citizens. The relatively recent EPRS publication ‘European Council Conclusions: Rolling Check-List of Commitments to Date’ (we started in July 2014 and are now publishing the third edition) keeps track of those decisions and follows up on their implementation: who has to carry out the decision, in what time span, and by what means? The Check-List is updated four times a year and the next edition is due to come out this month before the start of the spring European Council (19/20 March 2015).
The structure and contents of the publication stem from the Conclusions of the European Council, starting in 2010 to the present (2010-2015). The Check-List covers seven broad policy areas contained in seven chapters: 1) Financial and Economic Affairs; 2) Employment and Social Policies Agenda and Strategy; 3) Competitiveness; 4) Climate and Energy Strategies; 5) Freedom, Security and Justice; 6) External Policies; and 7) Development. A traffic light system helps readers distinguish at a glance the progress achieved on an issue of interest: green for decisions that were carried out in full, orange for those being implemented but not yet finished and red when things are blocked or when there is no evolution.
The information is displayed in different columns: the Commitment column displays all relevant conclusions of the European Council on a specific policy area; whereas in the State of Play column the status of the commitment or request in the institutions is displayed, in the form of binding and non-binding legal instruments.
The EPRS ‘Rolling Check-List of Commitments to Date’ is also one of the few of its kind which are publicly available. The idea behind it is providing the reader with easy access to the political guidelines defined by the European Council at its meetings and most importantly to guide her/him through the policy cycle and gradually show how each policy issue has been dealt with over time by the relevant institution or actor. In this sense, the checklist is meant to be used as an information tool by an informed audience in search of reliable and readily accessible data.