The comparison between the Leaders’ Agenda notes and the European Council conclusions shows that the majority of topics covered by the notes were later addressed in conclusions or statements. An exception to date is the note on the next institutional cycle. In June 2018, as a follow-up to the note on the next institutional cycle, EU leaders adopted a decision on the EP composition without mentioning it in their conclusions.
However, there is great variation across topics regarding the degree to which individual points of the Leaders’ Agenda notes were included in European Council conclusions. Three types can be identified: 1) topics were all points from the Leaders’ Agenda note have been included into the European Council conclusions; 2) topics with some degree of overlap between the European Council conclusions and the Leaders’ Agenda notes; 3) topics where the European Council conclusions are more far-reaching than the Leaders’ Agenda notes.
For example, education and culture falls under the first type, as all points, and sometimes even language elements of the Leaders’ Agenda note, were retained in the European Council conclusions, as shown in Figure 4. Migration falls under the second type, with a large range of elements from the Leaders’ Agenda note included in the European Council conclusions, but with no breakthrough on crucial points, or a simple referral to Council with no deadline. In the third type, although some aspects of the Leaders’ notes were not included in the European Council conclusions, the conclusions nevertheless went further, by including additional elements which did not originate in the Leaders’ Agenda note. Innovation and digital issues falls under the third type, as the substance of the European Council conclusions were more far-reaching than the Leaders’ Agenda note.