The EU’s Collective Head of State, the European Council held its inaugural meeting on 10 March 1975. In reality, the institution has its roots in the “Summit Meetings” or “Summit Councils” that started with the Rome Summit of 1961. To this date, 182 formal Council meetings have been held (not counting Eurozone Summits, but including Informal ones).
Unlike the European elections, where the makeup of the Parliament changes every 5 years, the composition of the Council changes every time elections in a member state bring about a change in government or president. As such, the Council is in a constant state of flux, especially when it comes to its political leanings. I wanted to track this evolution visually, to get some sense of how the Council evolved.
Some things I’d wish to highlight:
Interestingly enough, in 1961 the Charles De Gaulle’s party was a member of the “Liberals and Allies” group in the European Parliament (it switched to the conservative “European Democratic Union” in 1965).
“Independents” are PM’s/Presidents who are not party members, while “Non-Inscrits” (“Unaffiliated”) are PM’s who are members of a party that isn’t/wasn’t member of any EP party group, or whose MEP’s sat in multiple groups, essentially denying the party as a whole a political group.
In 2009, Fianna Fail switched from the Conservatives to the Liberals in the EP, even though the Irish PM stayed the same. In such a case, the color of the country changes as well.
There seems to be a consistent shift from the christian-democrats to the liberals in the last five years.
Greens tend to be center-left usually, but the only PM from a Green party was Latvia’s Indulis Emsis whose party is rather conservative, so I chose to position it centrally on the chart.
PS. Happy Europe Day!
Chart and map made in Python.