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Role of the European Council

Defines the general political direction and priorities of the European Union


Members of the European Council

Heads of state or government of EU countries, European Council President, European Commission President


President of the European Council

Donald Tusk


When was the European Council established?

1974 - informal forum
1992 - formal status
2009 - official EU institution


Where is the European Council located

Brussels, Belgium


The European Council brings together

EU leaders to set the EU's political agenda.


The European Council represents

the highest level of political cooperation between EU countries.


One of the EU's 7 official institutions, the Council takes the form of

summit meetings between EU leaders, chaired by a permanent president.


What does the European Council do?

Decides on the EU's overall direction and political priorities – but does not pass laws.
Deals with complex or sensitive issues that cannot be resolved at lower levels of intergovernmental cooperation
Sets the EU's common foreign & security policy, taking into account EU strategic interests and defence implications
Nominates and appoints candidates to certain high profile EU level roles, such as the ECB and the Commission


On each issue, the European council can

ask the European Commission to make a proposal to address it.
pass it on to the Council of the EU to deal with


The European Council is made up of the

Heads of state or government of all EU countries, the European Council president, and the European Commission president


The European Council is convened and chaired by

its President, who is elected by the European Council itself for a once-renewable two-and-a-half-year term.


The president represents

The EU to the outside world


The European council meets

4 times a year


The president of the council has the power to

Convene additional meetings to address urgent issues


It generally decides issues by consensus

but by unanimity or qualified majority in some cases. Only the heads of state/government can vote.