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9 May 2015 - the Council opens its doors

To celebrate Europe day, held every year on 9 May, the EU institutions will open their doors to the public. Visitors to the Council will be able to take guided tours of the facilities and learn more about the work of the institutions on the available information stands. Events and activities for all ages will take place throughout the day.

9 May 2015 - the Council opens its doors

To celebrate Europe day, held every year on 9 May, the EU institutions will open their doors to the public. Visitors to the Council will be able to take guided tours of the facilities and learn more about the work of the institutions on the available information stands. Events and activities for all ages will take place throughout the day.

The European Council

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

The Council of the EU

The Council of the EU is the institution representing 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.

The Council is an essential EU decision-maker. It negotiates and adopts new EU legislation, adapts it when necessary, and coordinates policies. In most cases, the Council decides together with the European Parliament through the ordinary legislative procedure, also known as 'codecision'. 

In a number of very specific areas, the Council takes decisions using special legislative procedures - the consent procedure and the consultation procedure - where the role of the Parliament is limited. 

Topics

The European Council and the Council of the EU are active in a wide range of areas, including:

In focus

Response to illegal migration

Preventing and fighting illegal migration is a priority for the European Union. Following the tragic events in the Mediterranean on 19 April, heads of state and government met to discuss how the EU can improve its response. Their discussions built on the results of the extraordinary foreign and home affairs Council, held on 20 April. The main issues raised were:

  • fighting human traffickers and smugglers
  • improving the presence at sea
  • enhancing internal solidarity
  • preventing illegal migration flows

In focus

Response to illegal migration

Preventing and fighting illegal migration is a priority for the European Union. Following the tragic events in the Mediterranean on 19 April, heads of state and government met to discuss how the EU can improve its response. Their discussions built on the results of the extraordinary foreign and home affairs Council, held on 20 April. The main issues raised were:

  • fighting human traffickers and smugglers
  • improving the presence at sea
  • enhancing internal solidarity
  • preventing illegal migration flows