What is COREPER?
COREPER is the designation of the two working groups/committees of officials whose task is the preparation of meetings of the Council. COREPER is an acronym made up of the initial letters of theFrench title for the Committee of Permanent Representatives, Comité des Représentants Permanents.COREPER comprises the Permanent Representatives of the Member States (i.e. ambassadors to theEU) and their deputies. Owing to the large number of matters handled by COREPER, it is divided intotwo committees: COREPER I, which comprises the deputies of the ambassadors to the EU, andCOREPER II, which comprises the ambassadors themselves and is therefore the more important of thetwo. COREPER II normally concerns itself with the matters dealt with by the European Council as wellas matters within the remit of the Councils for General Affairs and External Relations, Economic andFinancial Affairs, and Justice and Home Affairs. COREPER I prepares general matters within the remitof the other Council configurations. Within COREPER, officials discuss the political issues on theagenda for the next Council meeting, ahead of the meeting itself, and attempt to reach agreement on thematters wherever possible. Decisions are also taken within COREPER as to whether matters should besubmitted to the Council of Ministers for decision or whether they can be placed on the agenda as so-called ‘A points’. An A point is submitted to the Council for adoption without debate.Officials from COREPER I and II also represent the Council on conciliation committees in thecodecision procedure with the European Parliament, while the Presidency is represented at politicallevel. Working groups under COREPER Generally, a proposal for a legal act which is to be adopted bythe Council is initially dealt with in one of the 300 or so permanent working groups established under COREPER. The working groups cover the EU’s areas of cooperation. COREPER may also appoint adhoc working groups to deal with a specific matter if it is assessed that none of the permanent workinggroups are suited to dealing with the matter. The working groups under COREPER compriserepresentatives of the governments of the Member States, i.e. officials from the central administrationof the Member States and/or officials from the countries’ Permanent Representations in Brussels .Officials from the Commission also participate in the meetings. When the Commission has presented a proposal for a legal act which is to be adopted by the Council, the proposal is sent to the Council’sGeneral Secretariat, which sends it on to the Member States’ Permanent Representations to the EU. Asa rule, COREPER then decides which working group under COREPER should prepare the proposal to be dealt with by the Council. The task of the working groups is to try to arrive at a proposal on which itwill be possible to reach agreement in the Council. The working groups undertake a technical review of the proposals, and proposals for amendments to the original proposals are negotiated and drafted inorder to arrive at a proposal which will be acceptable to the Council. As a result of the discussions inthe working groups, an overview of the negotiating situation is achieved, and the working groups drawup a report on the matter. When a working group has completed its work on the matter or thenegotiations have reached an impasse, the matter proceeds to COREPER