Glossary:Council of the European Union

The Council of the European Union, also known as the EU Council or Council of Ministers (or simply the Council or Consilium in Latin), is the main decision-making body of the European Union (EU).

It should not be confused with:

  • the European Council, the regular meeting of EU heads of state or government;
  • the Council of Europe, a 47-member non-EU organisation of nearly all European countries.

The Council, which has both executive and legislative powers, is composed of 28 national ministers, one for each Member State. The specific composition of the Council depends on the topic at hand. For example, the 28 finance ministers discuss fiscal policies while agriculture ministers discuss agricultural subsidies. The Council presidency, responsible for organising and chairing all ministerial meetings, rotates between Member State governments every six months.

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