May 7, 2019 4:18 pm
The European Council is one of the seven institutions of the European Union. Its members are the heads of state or government of all 28 EU countries, the European Council President, and the European Commission President. The European Council brings together the EU leaders in its summit meetings, which take place in Brussels at least twice every six months. There the members/leaders decide on the political priorities and determine the overall direction and political agenda of the EU. As the European Council constitutes the highest level of political cooperation between EU countries, it discusses complex issues that cannot be resolved on a lower political level. It sets the common foreign and security policy of the EU and appoints certain high profile EU level roles. However, it does not have any legislative powers and cannot pass laws.
The term council derives from the Latin word concilium, which means assembly, meeting, and union. There is a different institution in the EU, which is also called council, the Council of the EU. The similarity of names can lead to some confusion. In the Council of the EU, the respective ministers of all EU countries meet to discuss and adopt EU laws in a certain policy area. The Council is one of the two main decision-making bodies along with the European Parliament. If you want to know more about the difference between the two Councils, check out the video below.
However, these two EU institutions have nothing to do with the Council of Europe, which is not an EU institution. It is a human rights organization with its headquarters in Strasbourg, France. Its 47 member states include the 28 EU countries.
Council. Home : Oxford English Dictionary. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/42589?redirectedFrom=Council#eid. Accessed May 7, 2019.
Council of Europe. Council of Europe. https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/home. Accessed May 7, 2019.
Council of the European Union. European Union. https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/institutions-bodies/council-eu_en. Published April 29, 2019. Accessed May 7, 2019.
EU Cof the. Donald Tusk on the European Council. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Y4_faPzppc. Published July 4, 2017. Accessed May 7, 2019.
European Council. European Union. https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/institutions-bodies/european-council_en. Published April 25, 2019. Accessed May 7, 2019.
Iate. https://iate.europa.eu/entry/result/836507/en. Accessed May 7, 2019.
Setting the EU’s political agenda. Consilium. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/european-council/role-setting-eu-political-agenda/. Published October 5, 2017. Accessed May 7, 2019.
The role of the European Council in nominations and appointments. Consilium. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/european-council/role-nominations-appointment/. Published October 5, 2017. Accessed May 7, 2019.
What is the European Council? YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKPE3vWGJb0. Published July 30, 2016. Accessed May 7, 2019.
Written by Annemarie Menger – Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg) and a student of the Master’s Program in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg. She holds a teacher’s degree in the form of the First German State Examination for Elementary Education, a BA in Cultural Basic Skills and an additional degree in Global Systems and Intercultural Competence from the University of Würzburg.
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