Les origines du Conseil européen – Interview with Tony Imbrogno

Anthony Imbrogno is a Ph.D candidate at McGill University, researching economic union reform and intergovernmental relations at the level of First Ministers in Canada, Australia and the EU.

Sur quoi porte votre recherche ?

Why was the European Council created? What factors led heads-of-government to found the European Council when it was not included in the Treaty of Rome? Prior research has focused on the personalities involved, particularly French Presidents de Gaulle, Pompidou and Giscard d’Estaing as well as their German (Herren Adenauer and Brandt) and British (PM Heath) counterparts. My research indicates that the political economy of the common market provided an incentive for leaders to cooperate and institutionalize their summits into routinized and valued meetings. The summits of 1961 failed to create the European Council because of their focus on political unification, whereas the series of summits from 1969 onward focused on economic issues, and were thus institutionalized.

Quel matériau utilisez-vous ?

I conducted fieldwork in archives at the Council of the European Union, at the British National Archive in London, at the Archives diplomatiques – Centre de Nantes and at the Diplomatic archive – Belgium Foreign Affairs. I also conducted interviews with officials directly responsible for organizing European Councils, particularly officials within the Permanent Representations of the Member States. I wish to thank these offices for welcoming me and participating in my research. The fieldwork, along with the secondary literature, was used to process trace the creation of the European Council from 1958 until 1974.

Vous étudiez l’Union européenne depuis le Canada, quels sont les atouts et les défis de cette posture ?

I study the European Council to gain perspective on intergovernmental relations in multi-level systems. European Union IGR is cooperative and institutionalized and I wish to understand what lessons the development of the EU has for governance practices in Canada.

Quel conseil donneriez-vous à un(e) étudiant(e) qui débute sa recherche sur l’Union européenne ?

My advice is do not be wary of comparing the EU to other polities. It may be sui generis but it also must govern a developed market economy and civil society. Its processes and outcomes are relevant to comparative studies. And take advantage of its openness; officials, parliamentarians and researchers are always excited to talk about the EU!


Posted in Research Briefs