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 Member States with the rank of Member States’ ambassadors to the European Union and is chaired by the Member State which holds the Council Presidency.
Coreper occupies a pivotal position in the Community decision-making system, in which 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 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 two configurations:
- Coreper I, consisting of the deputy permanent representatives, deals with technical matters;
- Coreper II, consisting of the ambassadors, deals with political, commercial, economic or institutional matters.
Coreper deals with all areas of the Council's work apart from agricultural issues, for which Agriculture Council dossiers are prepared by the Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA). 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.