The Council of the European Union (also called the “Council” and sometimes referred to as the “Council of Ministers”) forms the other half of the EU’s legislature. It consists of a government minister from each member state and meets in different compositions depending on the policy area being addressed. Notwithstanding its different configurations, it is considered to be one single body. In addition to its legislative functions, the Council also exercises executive functions in relations to the Common Foreign and Security Policy.
- summit of the Heads of Government, chaired by the President of the European Council)
- gives the necessary impetus for the development and sets out general objectives and priorities
- will not legislate
- based in Brussels
While the European Council has no formal legislative power, it is a strategic (and crisis-solving) body that provides the union with general political directions and priorities, and acts as a collective presidency. The European Commission remains the sole initiator of legislation, but the European Council is able to provide an impetus to guide legislative policy.
The meetings of the European Council, still commonly referred to as EU summits, are chaired by its president and take place at least twice every six months; usually in the Justus Lipsius building, the headquarters of the Council of the European Union in Brussels. Decisions of the European Council are taken by a simple majority consensus, except where the Treaties provide otherwise.
The states of the European Union by the European party affiliations of their leaders, as of 12 May 2015
Does not account for coalitions. Key to colours is as follows;
|European People’s Party||11||44.47%|
|Party of European Socialists||9||33.80%|
|Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists||1||12.63%|
|Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party||5||6.35%|
|Party of the European Left||1||2.17%|