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EDITIONS
Euro-glossary Monday, 30 April, 2001, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Council of Ministers
Officially called the Council of the European Union, the Council of Ministers is the only EU institution which represents the member states' national governments.

It is made up of government ministers from the 15 states, creating a kind of cabinet of cabinets. Which ministers attend the council depends on the subject under discussion, e.g. the Agriculture ministers will make up the council for discussions on farming.

The presidency of the council rotates between each member state every six months. Sweden took over from France at the beginning of 2001 and will be followed by Belgium in July.

Together with the European Parliament, the council has the power to make EU laws and decide the budget.

The council is responsible for the common foreign and security policy headed by its Secretary-General and High Representative Javier Solana.

It also co-ordinates co-operation on police and judicial questions.

The way the council votes depends on the matter under discussion. For some sensitive issues, for example taxation, the council must vote unanimously but other decisions require a simple majority or a qualified majority.

See also:

04 Dec 00 | Nice summit glossary
12 Mar 01 | Euro-glossary
13 Mar 01 | Euro-glossary
30 Apr 01 | Euro-glossary
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