The Permanent Representatives Committee or Coreper (Article 240 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – TFEU) is responsible for preparing the work of the Council of the European Union. It consists of representatives from the EU countries with the rank of ambassador to the European Union and is chaired by the EU country which holds the Council Presidency.
Coreper occupies a pivotal position in the EU’s decision-making system. It is both a forum for dialogue (among the Permanent Representatives and between them and their respective national capitals) and a means of political control (guidance and supervision of the work of the expert groups).
It thus carries out preliminary scrutiny of the dossiers on the Council’s agenda (proposals and drafts for acts tabled by the Commission). It seeks to reach agreement at its own level on each dossier, failing which it may suggest guidelines, options or suggested solutions to the Council.
The agendas for Council meetings reflect the progress made in Coreper. They consist of A items, to be approved without discussion following agreement within Coreper, and B items, for discussion.
Coreper works in 2 configurations:
- Coreper II, consisting of the ambassadors, deals with items pertaining to the General Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Economic and Financial Affairs and Justice and Home Affairs formations of the Council;
- Coreper I, consisting of the deputy permanent representatives, prepares all other Council formations.
Coreper deals with all areas of the Council’s work apart from some agricultural issues. When the Council sets up a special committee, such as the Political and Security Committee (PSC) for the CFSP or the Employment Committee for the field of employment, these operate with due regard for Coreper’s prerogatives.
Source: EUR Lex Glossary