Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Council of the European Union

The Council of the European Union is one of the EU's three legislative bodies.  It is also known as the Council or as the Council of Ministers, but the Council of the European Union isn't the same thing as the European Council.  And it's definitely not the same thing Council of Europe

The job of the Council of the European Union is to work with the European Parliament to amend, approve, or reject legislation proposed by the European Commission.  

So the European Parliament represents the EU citizens are are directly elected by people in each country.

The Council of the European Union represents the governments and national interests of each EU country while the European Commission represents the interests of the EU as a whole.

The Council of the European Union has 10 different configurations and the national ministers from each member country participate.  For example, the environmental ministers from each of the EU countries get together and sort out things in Environment configuration.  The ten configurations are:

  • Agriculture and Fisheries
  • Competitiveness (which covers the internal EU market, industry, research & innovation, and space policy)
  • Economic and Financial Affairs
  • Education, Youth, Culture and Sport
  • Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs
  • Environment
  • Foreign Affairs
  • General Affairs (cross-cutting policy areas like EU enlargement, the EU 7 year budget plan, and COVID-19)
  • Justice and Home Affairs
  • Transport, Telecommunications and Energy
The Presidency of the Council rotates every six months.  On 1 July, Germany took over the presidency from Croatia.  In January 2021 the presidency moves to Portugal, followed by Slovenia and France.  In July 2022, Czechland gets the presidency again.  

The last time Czech Republic held the presidency was in 2009.

Here's a 5-minute video I found on YouTube that gives more information about the Council.


Update:  December 2020, the Czech Republic has a countdown clock until they take over the EU Presidency. 

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