Film: 'From fireside chats to key decision-maker'
This documentary traces the history of the European Council from its foundation down to the present day. It shows important milestones from the last decades that have shaped the way EU leaders make decisions.
The story is told through the eyes of those who witnessed the European Council's transformation to the decision-making centre that it is today.
Find out more about the events and treaties which have shaped the roles of the European Council, the Council of the EU, the Eurogroup and the Euro Summit.
Creation of the Eurogroup
The European Council endorses the creation of the Eurogroup, an informal body that brings together the finance ministers of countries whose currency is the euro. The first Eurogroup meeting is held on 4 June 1998 at the Chateau de Senningen in Luxembourg.
The euro is born as a virtual currency
It is introduced in 11 member states: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
Greece joins the euro area
Greece becomes the 12th EU member state to join the euro area.
The euro enters circulation
On 1 January 2002 the euro starts circulation as banknotes and coins, replacing national currencies.
Treaty of Nice
The Treaty of Nice introduces the reform of EU institutions, in preparation for a future enlarged EU of 27 member states. The Council is reformed to extend the use of qualified majority voting, and to introduce the principle of enhanced cooperation between member states.
First permanent President of the Eurogroup
The Eurogroup decides to have a permanent president, appointed for a period of two years.
At an informal Ecofin meeting in Scheveningen, Jean-Claude Juncker is elected as the first permanent President of the Eurogroup. His term runs from 1 January 2005 until 31 December 2006.
Jean-Claude Juncker is reappointed as President of the Eurogroup
He is elected as President of the Eurogroup for a second term.
Slovenia joins the euro area
Slovenia becomes the 13th EU member state to adopt the euro as its currency.
Cyprus and Malta join the euro area
There are now 15 members of the euro area.
The Euro Summit is born
The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, proposes a regular meeting of the euro area heads of state or government. The first meeting takes place on 12 October 2008. Subsequent summits take place in May 2010, March 2011, July 2011, and October 2011 in Brussels.
Euro Summit meetings help to coordinate euro area economic policy and are also attended by the Euro Summit President and the President of the European Commission.
Slovakia joins the euro area
Slovakia becomes the 16th member of the euro area.
Protocol 14 to the Lisbon Treaty
Protocol 14 to the Lisbon Treaty enters into force on 1 December 2009, setting out the role of the Eurogroup. Ministers of the member states with the euro will meet informally to discuss matters related to the single currency and they will elect a president for two and a half years.
The Lisbon Treaty also amends the Council of the EU's rules so that when the full Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) votes on matters only affecting the euro area, only Eurogroup members are allowed to vote.
Estonia joins the euro area
Estonia becomes the 17th country to join the euro area.
Election of the President of the Eurogroup Working Group
Since January 2012, the post of President of the Eurogroup Working Group has been held by Thomas Wieser, who is also President of the Economic and Financial Committee.
The Eurogroup Working Group is a preparatory body that brings together Economic and Financial Committee representatives of the euro area member states, the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
Election of the Eurogroup President
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch Finance Minister, is elected President of the Eurogroup. He becomes the second permanent Eurogroup President in the history of the Eurogroup.
Latvia joins the euro area
Latvia becomes the 18th member of the euro area.
Lithuania joins the euro area
The euro area now has 19 members: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem elected Eurogroup president for a second term
Jeroen Dijsselbloem is re-appointed as Eurogroup President for a second term of 2.5 years.