The European Council
Follow the President of the European Council on:
The European Council defines the EU's overall political direction and priorities. It is not one of the EU's legislating institutions, so does not negotiate or adopt EU laws. Instead it sets the EU's policy agenda, traditionally by adopting 'conclusions' during European Council meetings which identify issues of concern and actions to take.
More recently, the European Council adopted a 'strategic agenda' of priority areas for longer-term EU action and focus.
Members of the European Council
The members of the European Council are the heads of state or government of the 28 EU member states, the European Council President and the President of the European Commission.
The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy also takes part in European Council meetings when foreign affairs issues are discussed.
The European Council mostly takes its decisions by consensus. However, in certain specific cases outlined in the EU treaties, it decides by unanimity or by qualified majority.
If a vote is taken, neither the European Council President nor the Commission President take part.
EU-Turkey statement following the meeting of the EU heads of state or government with Turkey.
Press remarks by President Donald Tusk after the meeting of EU heads of state or government with Turkey, 29 November 2015
Introductory remarks by President Donald Tusk at the meeting of EU heads of state or government with Turkey, 29 November 2015.
Weekly schedule of President Donald Tusk 29 November - 4 December 2015
On 25 November 2015 President Donald Tusk attended the summit of the Brdo-Brijuni Process in Zagreb.
On 24 November 2015 President Donald Tusk sent a letter of congratulations to the new Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa
Information about media accreditation arrangements for the summit.
On 24 November 2015 President Donald Tusk met the Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Dragan Čović in Sarajevo.
On 23 November 2015 President Donald Tusk invited the heads of state or government of the European Union for a meeting with Turkey on Sunday 29 November 2015
On 22nd November 2015, President Donald Tusk met President Gjorge Ivanov in Skopje.
On 22nd November 2015, President Donald Tusk met Prime Minister Edi Rama in Tirana.
On 21st November 2015, President Donald Tusk met Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić in Belgrade.
Updated schedule of President Donald Tusk 21-29 November 2015
Following the terrorist attacks in Paris and Ankara, G20 leaders adopted, at their meeting in Antalya, a statement on the fight against terrorism.
The G20 leaders' communiqué focus on “inclusiveness, investment and implementation".
On 15 November 2015 President Tusk held a press conference ahead of the G20 summit in Antalya focusing on the recent attacks in Paris
President Donald Tusk, President Jean-Claude Juncker and Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Antalya on 15 November 2015
On Sunday 15 November 2015, the 28 heads of state or government and the Presidents of the European institutions published a joint declaration on the terrorist attacks in Paris.
On 14 November 2015 President Donald Tusk sent a letter to French President François Hollande following the terrorist attacks in Paris
European Council meetings
The European Council meets at least twice every 6 months. Its meetings, often referred to as 'EU summits' are held in Brussels, in the Justus Lipsius building.
Meetings are chaired by the European Council President. The President can also convene extraordinary European Council meetings when needed.
The President of the European Parliament attends the start of each meeting, to outline the European Parliament's views. Other people, such as the President of the European Central Bank, may be invited to attend meetings, depending on the issues being discussed.
At their meeting in December, EU leaders are expected to discuss migration topics, the President's report on the Economic and Monetary Union, the completion of the single market, and the UK plans for the referendum.
Paris hosts the 21st session of the UN Conference of the Parties (COP 21) aiming at achieving a new international agreement on climate change.
The 28 EU heads of state or government held a meeting with Turkey. They agreed on a joint action plan to address the migration crisis and to re-energise Turkey's accession process.
The world's leading economies have concluded the G20 summit in Antalya Turkey affirming their resolve to fight terrorism and address the migration and refugee crisis.
EU leaders held an informal meeting to accelerate the implementation of the decisions taken on the migration crisis and cooperation with Turkey.
An international summit to discuss migration issues between EU and African leaders took place in Valletta on 11-12 November 2015.
EU leaders focused on migration at their meeting in October. They also take stock of discussions on the Economic and Monetary Union and the plans for the referendum in the UK.
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, spoke at the UN 70th General Assembly on behalf of the EU.
The informal meeting of EU leaders on 23 September 2015 discussed an overall approach to the refugee crisis and the necessity to establish a credible European migration policy.
The 8th bilateral summit between the EU and the Republic of Korea took place in Seoul on 15 September 2015.
At the 17th bilateral EU-China summit, leaders celebrated the 40th anniversary of EU-China diplomatic relations.
EU leaders addressed migration, security challenges and economic issues.
Leaders of the EU and Mexico agreed to foster a closer and stronger strategic partnership at the 7th EU-Mexico summit.
On 10-11 June 2015, the EU-CELAC summit brought together European, Latin American and Caribbean leaders in Brussels to strengthen relations between both regions
The 2015 G7 summit in Germany focused on the global economy and climate change as well as on key foreign, security and development issues.
History of the European Council
The European Council was created in 1974 as an informal forum for discussion between heads of state or government of the EU member states. It soon developed a role as the body responsible for fixing EU goals and priorities.
Under the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, the European Council acquired a formal status and role - to provide the impetus and general political guidelines for the EU.
In 2009, following the changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, the European Council became one of the 7 EU institutions.