Council of the European Union

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The organ of the EU that is primarily concerned with the formulation of policy and (in conjunction with the European Commission and European Parliament) the adoption of Community legislation. The Council consists of one member of government of each of the member states of the Community (normally its foreign minister, but other ministers may attend instead for the consideration of specialized topics), and its presidency is held by each state in turn for periods of six months. The Council is serviced by a Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER). This consists of senior civil servants of each state and its primary function is to clarify national attitudes for the assistance of the Council in reaching its decisions. It also disposes on behalf of the Council of matters that are not controversial. Decisions of the Council are taken by a unanimous vote (see also veto) or, in most cases, by qualified majority voting ( qmv). Each member state has a number of votes approximately proportional to the size of its population, with a total of 345 votes; in qmv 255 votes are necessary to pass a measure. In addition, any country can require that the countries in favour must account for 62% or more of the total EU population. Compare European Council.

Subjects: Law.

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