Meetings of the European Council have from its beginnings often emphasized political as well as economic cooperation among EU nations; for example, the impetus for the move to have the members of the European Parliament elected directly by universal suffrage came out of an agreement reached at the first meeting of the European Council in 1974. The council was given legal definition by the Single European Act (1987) and became an official instituion of the EU with the ratification (2009) of the Lisbon Treaty.
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