The functions of the Council of Ministers

You already know that the Treaties are important sources of information about the European Union institutions, but it is important that you start using them. You may realise that they are not as complex as they seem.

Let’s look at Article 16 the Treaties in order to find out what the Council does and what it is:


 1. The Council shall, jointly with the European Parliament, exercise legislative and budgetary functions. It shall carry out policy-making and coordinating functions as laid down in the Treaties.

 The main functions of the Council of Ministers are underlined. Note the equal standing of the Council of Ministers and European Parliament in the legislative process.

 2. The Council shall consist of a representative of each Member State at ministerial level, who may commit the government of the Member State in question and cast its vote.

(Consolidated versions of the Treaties on European Union and the Treaties on the Functioning of the European Union, 2010)


The representative function of the Ministers shows the intergovernmental character of the body. I hope you still remember the counterarguments.

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