Abstract The aim of this article is to demonstrate the usefulness of taking into account the variable of EU institutional development when analysing the dilemma of the Council Presidency in terms of role conception. Using a historical institutionalist perspective, the article examines the path of the EU Council Presidency since its origins and argues that five decades of institutional feedback have altered its nature. Originally conceived as an intergovernmental function, today the Presidency is identified increasingly with the defence of Community interests. This process of institutional conversion has essentially limited the scope of action of the member states.
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