Understanding all the different European ‘Councils’

The blogger nosemonkey has posted a nice clear summary to try to clear up the confusion many people have between: The European Council, the Council of the European Union, the Council of Ministers and the Council of Europe:

http://www.jcm.org.uk/blog/?p=2429

It includes an explanation of why the new president of the European Council would be much more powerful if they were actually a president of the Council of the European Union (or of the Council of Ministers, which is the same thing…).

Here is his summary:

Council of Europe


Not an EU body; concerned with democracy and justice

Council of the European Union


At once the EU’s Cabinet and Upper House of the legislature; where the decisions are made

Council of Ministers


The same as the Council of the European Union

European Council


The heads of government of the EU member states; an EU body but not an EU institution; effectively just a formalised old-school international summit, like the G8 or G20

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