14 Facts About European Council


European Council is a collegiate body that defines the overall political direction and priorities of the European Union.

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The European Commission remains the sole initiator of legislation, but the European Council is able to provide an impetus to guide legislative policy.

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Decisions of the European Council are taken by consensus, except where the Treaties provide otherwise.

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European Council officially gained the status of an EU institution after the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007, distinct from the Council of the European Union .

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The extraordinary meetings always end with official Council conclusions - but differs from the scheduled meetings by not being scheduled more than a year in advance, as for example in 2001 when the European Council gathered to lead the European Union's response to the 11 September attacks.

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In that case, what was politically part of a European Council meeting was legally a meeting of the Council of Ministers.

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European Council is an official institution of the EU, described in the Lisbon Treaty as a body which "shall provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development".

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The Secretary-General of the European Council attends, and is responsible for organisational matters, including minutes.

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The President of the European Council Parliament attends to give an opening speech outlining the European Council Parliament's position before talks begin.

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President of the European Council is elected by the European Council by a qualified majority for a once-renewable term of two and a half years.

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Almost all members of the European Council are members of a political party at national level, and most of these are members of a European-level political party or other alliances such as Renew Europe.

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However, the European Council is composed to represent the EU's states rather than political alliances and decisions are generally made on these lines, though ideological alignment can colour their political agreements and their choice of appointments .

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Until 2002, the venue for European Council summits was the member state that held the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

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However, European Council leaders agreed during ratification of the Nice Treaty to forego this arrangement at such a time as the total membership of the European Council Union surpassed 18 member states.

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