Although Heads of State or Government had met occasionally from 1961 for ad hoc European summits, it was not until the Paris Summit of December 1974 that European leaders decided to formalise this practice and started meeting regularly as the ‘European Council’, a name promoted by the then French President, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. The timeline below shows some of the milestones in the European Council’s institutional and organisational development, as well as the growth in its number of members as a result of successive EU enlargements. A full-time President was established in 2009, when the European Council became an EU institution in its own right.
Historical evolution of the European Council
European Parliamentary Research Service
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