The Council of the European Union is headquartered in Brussels. It represents the EU countries’ governments and is composed by a minister for each Member State, according to the subject matter to discuss. For example, Ministers for agriculture meet in the Council configuration which decides on agricultural policy issues.
The presidency of the Council rotates among the EU Member States every 6 months according to an order established by the Council itself. Only the Foreign Affairs configuration enjoys a permanent presidency, represented by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The Council ‘s configurations are ten:
- General Affairs (GAC)
- Foreign Affairs (FAC)
- Economic and financial affairs (Ecofin)
- Justice and Home Affairs (JHA)
- Employment, social policy, health and consumer affairs (EPSCO)
- Competitiveness (COMPET)
- Transport, telecommunications and energy (TTE)
- Agriculture and Fisheries (AGRIFISH)
- Environment (ENVI)
- Education, youth, culture and sport (EYCS)
The Council is responsible for:
- negotiating and adopting EU laws, together with the European Parliament, on basis of proposals from the European Commission;
- coordinating Member States' policies;
- concluding international agreements between the EU and non-EU countries and international organisations;
- adopting the EU budget together with the Parliament;
- defining and implementing EU foreign and security policy in compliance with the broad direction set by the European Council;
- coordinating co-operation between national judicial authorities and police forces in criminal matters.