The European Council sets the priorities and EU's overall political direction but has not legislative power. It also determines the EU’s foreign and security policy and makes appointments to other EU institutions.
The European Council meets at least four times a year.
It is composed of the Heads of State or Government of the 28 Member States, the President of the Commission and the President of the European Parliament. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy attends the Council’s meeting when foreign affairs are discussed and the President of the European Central Bank is also invited, depending on the agenda.
The European Council is convened and chaired by its President, who is elected by the members of the European Council for a once-renewable two-and-a-half-year term. The president also ensures the continuity of work and represents the EU at the highest level in international fora. He or she may not hold a national office.
Charles Michel, Belgium, is the President of the European Council as from December 1st 2019.