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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. 

In focus

Learn about the work of the Council and the European Council

The Council and the European Council are two separate institutions, supported by the General Secretariat of the Council (GSC). Which is the political and which the legislative institution? What are the tasks of the GSC? What is the Council presidency?

Legislative decisions are made following different rules. How does the Council voting system work? What is simple majority, qualified majority and unanimity?

Euro area countries also meet in a body called Eurogroup. Is your country included? When was the Euro area created?

Find out all the answers and much more information in our animations.

Become a Council trainee: apply until the end of August

Each year the Council offers about 120 traineeships to EU nationals who have completed their undergraduate studies. They run in two different periods from February to June and from September to January.

Trainees can participate in all spheres of the Council's work, from the press office and policy directorates to translators and IT specialists. A trainee is a member of the team where he or she is placed and supports the work of EU officials. There is also a rich programme of seminars and study trips and other activities to learn more about how the EU works.

The application procedure closes on 31 August 2016.

In focus

Learn about the work of the Council and the European Council

The Council and the European Council are two separate institutions, supported by the General Secretariat of the Council (GSC). Which is the political and which the legislative institution? What are the tasks of the GSC? What is the Council presidency?

Legislative decisions are made following different rules. How does the Council voting system work? What is simple majority, qualified majority and unanimity?

Euro area countries also meet in a body called Eurogroup. Is your country included? When was the Euro area created?

Find out all the answers and much more information in our animations.

Become a Council trainee: apply until the end of August

Each year the Council offers about 120 traineeships to EU nationals who have completed their undergraduate studies. They run in two different periods from February to June and from September to January.

Trainees can participate in all spheres of the Council's work, from the press office and policy directorates to translators and IT specialists. A trainee is a member of the team where he or she is placed and supports the work of EU officials. There is also a rich programme of seminars and study trips and other activities to learn more about how the EU works.

The application procedure closes on 31 August 2016.