The Council of the European Union: Key facts

To re-cap here’s some information about the Council you need to be aware of…


  • The Council represents the member state governments at the EU.
  • Ministers and the ‘councils’ they sit on change, depending on the subject being discussed. The most important councils are the General Affairs and Foreign Affairs Councils (usually attended by foreign ministers) and the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (usually attended by finance ministers).
  • The Council decides on virtually all EU decisions (it has a greater role than the other decision maker, the European Parliament – see module two).
  • The Council coordinates member state economic policies.
  • The Council concludes (signs) agreements with third parties (trade agreements for example).
  • Along with the European Parliament the Council appoints EU Commissioners and approves the EU budget.
  • When agreement can be reached the Council coordinates member states’ foreign policies.

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