Council of the European Union

Finland’s Minister of European
Affairs (2007-2011) Astrid Thors
signs an agreement.

Photo: European Parliament

The Council of the European Union is called the Council of Ministers. In a sense, it is Europe's government. The Council of Ministers includes ministers from all the 27 member states. Meetings are attended by the minister responsible for the matters at hand. When the matters concern foreign policy, the foreign ministers will attend. When the matters concern agriculture, agricultural ministers will attend.

The Council represents the member states. It gives regulations, directives and decisions. The Council passes laws together with the European Parliament.

The Council and Parliament also make decisions on the EU budget. The Council ratifies the international agreements that have been negotiated by the Commission.

Every member state holds the presidency of the Council for six months at a time.

Head office of the European Union in Brussels. Meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Photos: and Europe Information