The Department for Coordination of European Policies monitors the activities of the Council of the European Union.
The Council is the forum where ministers from each EU country meet to adopt legislative acts, opinions, conclusions, statements, resolutions and common policies. The Council's activities are designed and coordinated by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper), composed of the ambassadors of the Member States.
The EU Council is a single legal entity that meets in ten different "formations" depending on the topic addressed:
- Foreign Affairs Council: responsible for the EU's external action, which includes foreign policy, defense and security, trade, development cooperation and humanitarian aid.
- General Affairs Council: responsible for a series of transversal policies andcoordinates the preparations for the meetings of the European Council.
- Agriculture and Fisheries Council: adopts legislative acts in a number of areas concerning food production, rural development and fisheries management.
- Environment Council: responsible for EU environmental policy, including environmental protection, the prudent use of resources and the protection of human health. It also deals with international environmental issues, in particular in the field of climate change.
- Competitiveness Council: strives to strengthen competitiveness and boost growth in the EU. Deals with policies related to four sectors: internal market, industry, research and innovation, space.
- Economic and Financial Affairs Council: responsible for EU policy in three main areas, namely economic policy, taxation issues, financial services regulation.
- Justice and Home Affairs Council: develops common policies and cooperation on various cross-border aspects, to achieve an area of freedom, security and justice at EU level.
- Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council: deals with thematic issues that fall within the competence of the Member States. The role of the EU in education, youth, culture and sport is to provide a framework for cooperation between Member States for the exchange of information and experience in areas of common interest.
- Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council: strives to increase employment levels and improve living and working conditions, ensuring a high level of human health and consumer protection within the EU.
- Council for Transport, Telecommunications and Energy: strives to achieve the EU's transport, telecommunications and energy objectives, i.e. to create modern, competitive and efficient markets and infrastructures and to build trans-European networks in the transport, communications and power sectors.
The Council's activities are designed and coordinated by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper), composed of the ambassadors of the Member States.
The work of Coreper develops, in turn, on the basis of the work prepared by over 150 committees and work groups, made up of delegates from the Member States.
Coreper is divided into two teams:
- Coreper I, composed of the Permanent Representatives, deals with more technical issues such as transport, the internal market or fishing. It is assisted by "Mertens group ", created in 1993 at the initiative of the Belgian diplomat Vincentive Mertens de Wilmars.
- Coreper II, composed of Permanent Representatives, deals with political, commercial, economic and institutional issues. It is organised by the "Antici group", named after the Italian permanent representative Paolo Antici, who presided over the group's first meeting in 1975.