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Glossary

COUNCIL


There are three different European bodies with the word 'council' in their names: The European Council This is the meeting of heads of State and government (i.e. presidents and/or prime ministers) of all the EU countries, plus the President of the European Commission. The European Council meets, in principle, four times a year to agree overall EU policy and to review progress. It is the highest-level policy-making body in the European Union, which is why its meetings are often called “summits”. The Council of the European Union Formerly known as the Council of Ministers, this institution consists of government ministers from all the EU countries. The Council meets regularly to take detailed decisions and to pass European laws. The Council of Europe This is not an EU institution. It is an intergovernmental organization based in Strasbourg and it aims (amongst other things) to protect human rights, to promote Europe's cultural diversity and to combat social problems such as xenophobia and intolerance. The Council of Europe was set up in 1949 and one of its early achievements was to draw up the European Convention on Human Rights. To enable citizens to exercise their rights under that Convention it set up the European Court of Human Rights.

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