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They are three, they include the word “Council” but they have different roles

Council of the European Union (EU institution)

 

What is it?

It brings together relevant member state ministers depending on the fields and the topics on the agenda.

What does it do?

It has legislative and budgetary power, like the Parliament. It adopts EU legislation, establishes and coordinates the economic, foreign and defense policies of the EU.

Who are its members?

The 28 member states of the EU. Its presidency rotates among the member states every six months. After the Greek presidency, as of 1 July 2014 it is Italy’s turn.

 

European Council (EU Institution)


What is it?

It is a summit created in 1974 in Paris. It became an institution of the EU with the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. It is based in Brussels.

What does it do?

It defines the political directions and priorities of the Union. It influences the political agenda of the EU. It does not approve legislative acts.

Who are its members?

Its President, the Heads of State or Government of the 28 member states, the President of the Commission, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security.

 


Not to be confused with…

Council of Europe (not an EU institution)

It is an institution established by the London Treaty in 1949 for the protection of human rights in Europe. It advocates freedom of expression, equality and the protection of minorities. It comprises 47 countries, including the 28 EU member states. They all subscribed the European Convention on Human Rights and abolished the death penalty. The Council of Europe meets in Strasbourg.

 

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Last update: 25 June 2014