Council of Ministers
The Council brings together ministers from the national governments of the 27 Member States. The Lisbon Treaty changes relatively little with regard to the workings of the Council of Ministers: for example, the current system of six-month Presidencies remains largely unchanged at ministerial level, although the cooperation between three successive presidencies is formalised.
As regards Council formations, the main change is the split between general affairs, and external relations. A dedicated Foreign Affairs Council has been set-up, which is chaired by the new High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy. In parallel, the General Affairs Council meets now separately to discuss cross-cutting issues. I will be the permanent representative of the Commission in these meetings.
Changes are more significant at the level of the European Council, which brings together Heads of State and Government from all 27 Member States. Here the Lisbon Treaty creates a stable President of the European Council.