European Council

Discipline: Political Science

A European Union institution that serves as a strategic body, and engages in outlining the general political directions of the Union. It was established as an informal institution in 1961, and later became an official EU institution with the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon (2007).

The European Council has no legislative power. (The legislative branches of the European Union are the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.) It is designed as a body that gathers the executive leaders of the members states. It convenes at least twice every six months at the headquarters of the Council of the European Union in Brussels.

The European Council is composed of (1) a president, which the Council appoints by itself, (2) the heads-of-state or heads-of-government of the member states, and (3) the president of the European Commission.

The European Council also appoints the president of the European Commission, and the president of the European Central Bank.

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