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EN 
2.12.2009 Official 
Journal 
of 
the 
European 
Union  L 
315/51
EUROPEAN COUNCIL DECISION 
of 1 December 2009 
adopting its Rules of Procedure 
(2009/882/EU) 
THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL, 
HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION: 
Article 1 
Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European 
Union, and in particular Article 235(3) thereof, 
1. The 
European 
Council 
hereby 
adopts 
its 
Rules 
of 
Procedure, as set out in the Annex. 
Whereas: 
2.  For the adoption of its Rules of Procedure, the European 
Council may use the written procedure laid down in Article 7 
of those Rules of Procedure. 
(1) The 
Treaty 
of 
Lisbon 
transforms 
the 
European 
Council 
into an institution of the European Union. 
Article 2 
This Decision shall take effect on the day of its adoption. 
(2) The 
European 
Council 
should 
therefore 
adopt 
its 
Rules 
of  It shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. 
Procedure. 
(3) To 
enable 
these 
Rules 
of 
Procedure 
to 
be 
adopted  Done at Brussels, 1 December 2009. 
immediately on the day on which the Treaty of Lisbon 
enters into force, this Decision should provide that the 
For the European Council 
European Council may use the written procedure laid 
down in Article 7 of its Rules of Procedure for the 
The President 
adoption of those Rules of Procedure, 
H. VAN ROMPUY

L 315/52 
EN 
Official Journal of the European Union 
2.12.2009 
ANNEX 
RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL 
Article 1 
Notice and venue of meetings 
1. The European Council shall meet twice every six months, convened by its President ( 1 ). 
At the latest one year before the beginning of a six-month period, in close cooperation with the Member State which 
will hold the Presidency during that six-month period, the President of the European Council shall make known the 
dates which he or she envisages for the meetings of the European Council during that six-month period. 
When the situation so requires, the President shall convene a special meeting of the European Council ( 2 ). 
2. The European Council shall meet in Brussels. 
In exceptional circumstances, the President of the European Council, with the agreement of the General Affairs Council 
or the Committee of Permanent Representatives, acting unanimously, may decide that a meeting of the European 
Council will be held elsewhere. 
Article 2 
Preparation for and follow-up to the proceedings of the European Council 
1. The President of the European Council shall ensure the preparation and continuity of the work of the European 
Council in cooperation with the President of the Commission, and on the basis of the work of the General Affairs 
Council ( 3 ). 
2. The General Affairs Council shall prepare and ensure the follow-up to meetings of the European Council, in liaison 
with the President of the European Council and the Commission ( 4 ). 
3.  The President shall establish close cooperation and coordination with the Presidency of the Council and the President 
of the Commission, particularly by means of regular meetings. 
4. In the event of an impediment because of illness, in the event of his or her death or if his or her term of office is 
ended in accordance with Article 15(5) of the Treaty on European Union, the President of the European Council shall 
be replaced, where necessary until the election of his or her successor, by the member of the European Council 
representing the Member State holding the six-monthly Presidency of the Council. 
Article 3 
Agenda and preparation 
1.  In order to ensure the preparation provided for in Article 2(2), at least four weeks before each ordinary meeting of the 
European Council as referred to in Article 1(1), the President of the European Council, in close cooperation with the 
member of the European Council representing the Member State holding the six-monthly Presidency of the Council 
and with the President of the Commission, shall submit an annotated draft agenda to the General Affairs Council. 
Contributions to the proceedings of the European Council by other Council configurations shall be forwarded to the 
General Affairs Council at the latest two weeks before the meeting of the European Council. 
The President of the European Council, in close cooperation as referred to in the first subparagraph, shall prepare draft 
guidelines for the European Council conclusions and, as appropriate, draft conclusions and draft decisions of the 
European Council, which shall be discussed in the General Affairs Council.
( 1 )  This subparagraph reproduces the first sentence of Article 15(3) of the Treaty on European Union (hereinafter referred to as the ‘TEU’). 
( 2 ) This subparagraph reproduces the final sentence of Article 15(3) of the TEU. 
( 3 ) This paragraph reproduces Article 15(6)(b) of the TEU. 
( 4 ) This paragraph reproduces the second sentence of the second subparagraph of Article 16(6) of the TEU.

EN 
2.12.2009 Official 
Journal 
of 
the 
European 
Union  L 
315/53 
A final meeting of the General Affairs Council shall be held within the five days preceding the meeting of the 
European Council. In the light of that final discussion, the President of the European Council shall draw up the 
provisional agenda. 
2. Except for imperative and unforeseeable reasons linked, for example, to current international events, no other 
configuration of the Council or preparatory body may, between the session of the General Affairs Council at the 
end of which the provisional agenda for the European Council is drawn up and the European Council meeting, discuss 
any subject submitted to the European Council. 
3. The European Council shall adopt its agenda at the beginning of its meeting. 
As a rule, issues entered on the agenda should have been examined beforehand, in accordance with the provisions of 
this Article. 
Article 4 
Composition of the European Council, delegations and the conduct of proceedings 
1.  Each ordinary meeting of the European Council shall run for a maximum of two days, unless the European Council or 
the General Affairs Council, on the initiative of the President of the European Council, decides otherwise. 
The member of the European Council representing the Member State holding the Presidency of the Council shall 
report to the European Council, in consultation with its President, on the work of the Council. 
2.  The President of the European Parliament may be invited to be heard by the European Council ( 1 ). Such exchange of 
views shall be held at the start of the meeting of the European Council, unless the European Council unanimously 
decides otherwise. 
Meetings in the margins of the European Council with representatives of third States or international organisations or 
other personalities may be held in exceptional circumstances only, and with the prior agreement of the European 
Council, acting unanimously, on the initiative of the President of the European Council. 
3. Meetings of the European Council shall not be public. 
4. The European Council shall consist of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States, together with its 
President and the President of the Commission. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security 
Policy shall take part in its work ( 2 ). 
When the agenda so requires, the members of the European Council may decide each to be assisted by a minister and, 
in the case of the President of the Commission, by a member of the Commission ( 3 ). 
The total size of the delegations authorised to have access to the building where the meeting of the European Council 
is held shall be limited to 20 persons for each Member State and for the Commission, and to five for the High 
Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. That number shall not include technical personnel 
assigned to specific security or logistic support tasks. The names and functions of the members of the delegations shall 
be notified in advance to the General Secretariat of the Council. 
The President shall be responsible for the application of these Rules of Procedure and for ensuring that discussions are 
conducted smoothly. 
Article 5 
Representation before the European Parliament 
The European Council shall be represented before the European Parliament by the President of the European Council. 
The President of the European Council shall present a report to the European Parliament after each of the meetings of 
the European Council ( 4 ). 
The member of the European Council representing the Member State holding the Presidency of the Council shall 
present to the European Parliament the priorities of its Presidency and the results achieved during the six-month 
period.
( 1 ) This subparagraph reproduces Article 235(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as the 
‘TFEU’). 
( 2 ) This subparagraph reproduces Article 15(2) of the TEU. 
( 3 ) This subparagraph reproduces the second sentence of Article 15(3) of the TEU. 
( 4 ) This subparagraph reproduces Article 15(6)(d) of the TEU.

L 315/54 
EN 
Official Journal of the European Union 
2.12.2009 
Article 6 
Adoption of positions, decisions and quorum 
1. Except where the Treaties provide otherwise, decisions of the European Council shall be taken by consensus ( 1 ). 
2.  In those cases where, in accordance with the Treaties, the European Council adopts a decision and holds a vote, that 
vote shall take place on the initiative of its President. 
The President shall, furthermore, be required to open a voting procedure on the initiative of a member of the 
European Council, provided that a majority of the members of the European Council so decides. 
3. The presence of two thirds of the members of the European Council is required to enable the European Council to 
vote. When the vote is taken, the President shall check that there is a quorum. The President of the European Council 
and the President of the Commission shall not be included in the calculation of the quorum. 
4. Where a vote is taken, any member of the European Council may also act on behalf of not more than one other 
member ( 2 ). 
Where the European Council decides by vote, its President and the President of the Commission shall not take part in 
the vote ( 3 ). 
5. Procedural decisions adopted by the European Council by virtue of these Rules of Procedure shall be adopted by a 
simple majority. ( 4 ) 
Article 7 
Written procedure 
Decisions of the European Council on an urgent matter may be adopted by a written vote where the President of the 
European Council proposes to use that procedure. Written votes may be used where all members of the European 
Council having the right to vote agree to that procedure. 
A summary of acts adopted by the written procedure shall be drawn up periodically by the General Secretariat of the 
Council. 
Article 8 
Minutes 
Minutes of each meeting shall be drawn up; a draft of those minutes shall be prepared by the General Secretariat of the 
Council within 15 days. The draft shall be submitted to the European Council for approval, and then signed by the 
Secretary-General of the Council. 
The minutes shall contain: 
— a reference to the documents submitted to the European Council, 
— a reference to the conclusions approved, 
— the decisions taken, 
— the statements made by the European Council and those whose entry has been requested by a member of the 
European Council, 
Article 9 
Deliberations and decisions on the basis of documents and drafts drawn up in the languages provided for by the 
language rules in force 
1.  Except as otherwise decided unanimously by the European Council on grounds of urgency, the European Council shall 
deliberate and take decisions only on the basis of documents and drafts drawn up in the languages specified in the 
rules in force governing languages. 
2. Any member of the European Council may oppose discussion where the texts of any proposed amendments are not 
drawn up in such of the languages referred to in paragraph 1 as he or she may specify.
( 1 ) This paragraph reproduces Article 15(4) of the TEU. 
( 2 ) This subparagraph reproduces the first subparagraph of Article 235(1) of the TFEU. 
( 3 ) This subparagraph reproduces the second sentence of the second subparagraph of Article 235(1) of the TFEU. 
( 4 ) This subparagraph reproduces the rule set out in Article 235(3) of the TFEU.

EN 
2.12.2009 Official 
Journal 
of 
the 
European 
Union  L 
315/55
Article 10 
Making public votes, explanations of votes and minutes and access to documents 
1. In cases where, in accordance with the Treaties, the European Council adopts a decision, the European Council may 
decide, in accordance with the voting arrangement applicable for the adoption of that decision, to make public the 
results of votes, as well as the statements in its minutes and the items in those minutes relating to the adoption of that 
decision. 
Where the result of a vote is made public, the explanations of the vote provided when the vote was taken shall also be 
made public at the request of the member of the European Council concerned, with due regard for these Rules of 
Procedure, legal certainty and the interests of the European Council. 
2. The provisions concerning public access to Council documents set out in Annex II to the Rules of Procedure of the 
Council shall apply mutatis mutandis to European Council documents. 
Article 11 
Professional secrecy and production of documents in legal proceedings 
Without prejudice to the provisions on public access to documents, the deliberations of the European Council shall be 
covered by the obligation of professional secrecy, except insofar as the European Council decides otherwise. 
The European Council may authorise the production for use in legal proceedings of a copy of or an extract from 
European Council documents which have not already been released to the public in accordance with Article 10. 
Article 12 
Decisions of the European Council 
1. Decisions adopted by the European Council shall be signed by its President and by the Secretary-General of the 
Council. Where they do not specify to whom they are addressed, they shall be published in the Official Journal of the 
European Union. Where they specify to whom they are addressed, they shall be notified to those to whom they are 
addressed by the Secretary-General of the Council. 
2.  The provisions concerning the form of acts set out in Annex VI to the Rules of Procedure of the Council shall apply 
mutatis mutandis to decisions of the European Council. 
Article 13 
Secretariat, budget and security 
1.  The European Council and its President shall be assisted by the General Secretariat of the Council, under the authority 
of its Secretary-General. 
2. The Secretary-General of the Council shall attend the meetings of the European Council. He or she shall take all the 
measures necessary for the organisation of proceedings. 
3. The Secretary-General of the Council shall have full responsibility for administering the appropriations entered in 
Section II – European Council and Council – of the budget and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they 
are properly managed. He or she shall implement the appropriations in question in accordance with the provisions of 
the Financial Regulation applicable to the budget of the Union. 
4. The Council’s security rules shall apply mutatis mutandis to the European Council. 
Article 14 
Correspondence addressed to the European Council 
Correspondence to the European Council shall be sent to its President at the following address: 
European Council 
rue de la Loi 175 
B-1048 Brussels