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The difference between the three different Councils can be confusing. Here a short clarification.

European Council: The big shots

EuropeanCouncil

Role: Defines the general political direction and priorities of the European Union
e.g. 2014 Council Decision on the EU’s 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework
Members: Heads of state or government of EU countries, European Commission President, High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy
President: Donald Tusk (former Prime Minister of Poland). His term 2014 - 2017.
Established in: 1974 (informal forum), 1992 (formal status), 2009 (official EU institution) 

Council of the European Union: Making laws

CounciloftheEuropeanUnion

Role:  Adopting EU laws and coordinating EU policies. Together with the European Parliament, the EU’s main legislative body.
Members: Government ministers from each EU country, according to the policy area to be discussed
President: 28 member states take turns, for six months each. The presidency organises and chairs meetings in the Council and its preparatory bodies, and draws up compromises that can pave the way for Council decisions.   

  • Malta: January-June 2017,  Estonia: July-December 2017
  • Bulgaria: January-June 2018,  Austria: July-December 2018
  • Romania: January-June 2019, Finland: July-December 2019
  • Croatia: January-June 2020, Germany: July-December 2020

Established in: 1958 (as Council of the European Economic Community)  

 

Council of Europe: not an EU institution

The Council of Europe is the continent's leading human rights organisation. Best known for the European Convention on Human Rights. It includes 47 member states, 28 of which are EU members of the European Union. http://www.coe.int/en

 

More information on the European Institutions: http://www.ieep.eu/understanding-the-eu/introduction/
And here a nice video that gives a good summary: https://tvnewsroom.consilium.europa.eu/bmm_video_embed/embed_video/67740/de

 

Latest Publications

  • Coal is out. Are the Western Balkans in?

    Are EU member-states in Southeast Europe ready for timely and just transition beyond coal? For the Western Balkans, membership hopefuls, the question is how much longer can public subsidies and Chinese loans keep coal zombie alive at growing cost to health, livelihoods, and the environment?
  • Submission - Feedback on ENTSOS' Proposals for TYNDP 2022 Storylines

    Future energy infrastructure planning in Europe needs to be fully aligned with the Paris Agreement. CAN Europe recommends to increase variation of TYNDP 2022 storylines by assessing higher ambition of greenhouse gas emission reductions. In order to reach the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement, a trajectory towards net-zero emissions in 2040 should be assessed. Instead of primarily opposing “decentralised” and “global” solutions in the TYNDP 2022 storylines, at least one scenario should analyse how to prepare European energy infrastructure for a 100% renewable energy system in the most efficient way, combining the best out of both “decentralised” and “global” futures.
See All: Climate & Energy Targets