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Study Notes

European Council

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

The EU Council is an inter-governmental institution made up of Heads of Government, (PMs or Presidents) Foreign Ministers and the President of the Commission and his Vice-President.

Under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU Council is chaired by the President of the Council, who is elected for 21/2 years by national leaders. The President is now Donald Tusk. It meets four times a year. These meetings are called "European Summits". They used to be held in different cities, but post-Lisbon, they will be held only in Brussels.

The European Council has the main responsibility for agreeing the common defence and foreign policy, and takes key strategic decisions. Unanimity is the rule here. The tradition is to respect the vital national interests of member states.

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