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What is the European Council in the European Union?

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Juan Sanchez Gil
Juan Sanchez Gil
Juan Sanchez Gil - at The European Times News - Mostly in the back lines. Reporting on corporate, social and governmental ethics issues in Europe and internationally, with emphasis on fundamental rights. Also giving voice to those not being listened to by the general media.

The European Council is a decision-making body within the European Union (EU). Is the highest-level institution of the EU, consisting of the Heads of State or Governments of the member countries, along with the President of the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The primary purpose of the European Council is to determine the overall political direction and priorities of the European Union.

The European Council was created in 1974 as an informal discussion body for the Heads of State or Governments of the member countries. At this time, the EP was still known as the European Community and the Council of the European Communities. In 1975, the European Council held its first formal meeting, in which it discussed the common objectives of the European Community, economic and social policies and the coordination of foreign policy objectives.

The European Council meets once or twice a year in Brussels. It has been at the forefront of the drive to create a unified European Union and a common foreign, security, and defence policy. Discussions at the meetings include but are not limited to, economic regulation, enlargement, security and defence issues, budgets, trade policy and social issues.

The European Council is considered the ‘driving force’ of the European Union, setting broad policy goals and leading the EU in areas where it has the most potential. It makes decisions on matters relating to the internal and external policies of the EU, such as the coordination of foreign and defence policy, the adoption of the annual multi-annual budget, the appointment of senior EU officials, and the establishment of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).

The European Council is chaired by the President of the European Council. Its current President is Charles Michel, who started his first term on 1 December 2019. On 24 March 2022, he was re-elected President for a second term of two and a half years. The President is selected from one of the Heads of State or Government of the member countries of the EU and serves for two and a half years. The President is responsible for setting the European Council’s agendas and enacting its decisions, such as the co-decision process.

The European Council is not a legislative body, but instead provides guidance and direction to the European Commission and the European Parliament. It is advised by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The European Council provides the fundamental framework for the work of the European Union, by setting guidelines and priorities for the Commission and Parliament to follow.

(here is a video with some extra explanations, it is only 10 minutes long)

In conclusion, the European Council is a pillar of the European Union, responsible for guiding the internal and external policies of the European Union. It consists of the Heads of State or Governments of the member countries and is presided over by the President of the European Council. The Council provides the fundamental framework for the work of the European Union and sets guidelines and priorities for the Commission and Parliament to follow.

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