The EU summit today (7 March) will be the 101st for Jean-Claude Juncker, as premier of Luxembourg and president of the European Commission. Second comes German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with 66 summits Third is Donald Tusk, with 57 summits as premier of Poland and president of the European Council.
EU summits are being held more and more frequently. The first seven summit meetings were held between 1961 and 1974, but this was before the formal establishment of the European Council in 1975. Some however consider them to be the informal seven first meetings of the European Council.
Typically three summits per year, (in spring, summer and winter), were held from 1975 to 2009, in the countries holding the rotating presidency of the Council. Extraordinary councils were quite exceptional. Since 2010, all Council meetings took place in Brussels. The frequency of the summits increased during the eurozone crisis and the refugee crisis (11 summits in 2011, 9 in 2014, 10 in 2015).
Excessive summitry, however, is not always a recipe for success. Against the background of the unfolding refugee crisis, the European Commission often complains the leaders don’t implement the decisions they have themselves adopted. Today’s EU Council meeting is an extraordinary summit, coupled with a summit with Turkey. This is the second time the EU is hosting a summit with Turkey, the first having been held last November. Today’s summit is the 174th since 1961.