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The Economic and Financial Affairs Council is, together with the Agriculture Council and the General Affairs Council, one of the oldest configurations of the Council. It is commonly known as the Ecofin Council, or simply "Ecofin" and is composed of the Economics and Finance Ministers of the Member States, as well as Budget Ministers when budgetary issues are discussed. It meets once a month.
The Ecofin Council covers EU policy in a number of areas including: economic policy coordination, economic surveillance, monitoring of Member States' budgetary policy and public finances, the euro (legal, practical and international aspects), financial markets and capital movements and economic relations with third countries. It decides mainly by qualified majority, in consultation or codecision with the European Parliament, with the exception of fiscal matters which are decided by unanimity.
The Ecofin Council also prepares and adopts every year, together with the European Parliament, the budget of the European Union which is about 100 billion euros.
The Eurogroup, composed of the Member States whose currency is the euro, meets normally the day before the Ecofin meeting and deals with issues relating to the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). It is an informal body which is not a configuration of the Council.
When the Ecofin Council examines dossiers related to the euro and EMU, the representatives of the Member States whose currency is not the euro do not take part in the vote of the Council.