Council of the European Union

Discipline: Political Science

Also known as: the Council, Council of Ministers

The upper chamber of the European legislative branch. (The lower chamber is the European Parliament.)

The Council has limited right of legislative initiative. Nevertheless, in comparison to the European Parliament, it has more control over intergovernmental areas within the EU.

The Council does not have a rigid membership. Depending on the topic of the given session, one minister from each member state from a relevant policy area sits in the Council.

The Council has its roots in the Special Council of Ministers in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). When the ECSC, the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC), and the European Economic Community (EEC) merged under the roof of the European Economic Community (EEC) with the Merger Treaty (1965), the councils of these three institutions also merged to form the Council of the EEC. Finally, in 1992, the Maastricht Treaty, renamed the Council of the EEC "Council of the European Union".


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