The 2009 Lisbon Treaty established the office of full-time, permanent President of the European Council. Previously, the European Council was chaired on a rotating basis by the Head of State or Government of the Member State holding the six-month presidency of the Council of the EU. The full-time President is chosen for a 30-month term, renewable once, by qualified majority vote. The principal aim of this important change was to bring greater continuity and coherence to the work of the European Council. The role of the President is set out in Article 15(6) TEU, whereby he or she:
• chairs the European Council and drives forward its work;
• ensures the preparation and continuity of the work of the European Council, in cooperation with the President of the Commission, and on the basis of the General Affairs Council’s work;
• endeavours to facilitate cohesion and consensus within the European Council;
• presents a report to the European Parliament after each meeting of the European Council;
• ensures the external representation of the Union on issues concerning its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), without prejudice to the powers of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.