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The European Council

The European Council consists of the heads of state or government of the EU's member states, together with its President and the European Commission President. It defines the EU's general political direction and priorities.

The Council of the EU

The Council of the EU represents the member states' governments. Also known informally as the EU Council, it is where national ministers from each EU country meet to adopt laws and coordinate policies.

What is the Council?

The European Council and the Council of the EU are two very closely linked institutions. They have similar names and share the same buildings and staff - the General Secretariat of the Council (GSC). However, they have very different roles and membership.