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The council of ministers

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The council of ministers

  1. 1.  The Council (also known as the Council of Ministers) is made up of ministers from the EU’s national governments. The member states take it in turns to hold the Council Presidency for a six-month period. Every Council meeting is attended by one minister from each EU country. Which ministers attend a meeting depends on which topic is on the agenda: foreign aff airs, agriculture, industry, transport, the environment, etc.
  2. 2.  The Council’s main job is to pass EU laws. Normally it shares this responsibility with the European Parliament. The Council and the Parliament also share equal responsibility for adopting the EU budget. In addition, the Council signs international agreements that have been negotiated by the Commission. According to the Lisbon Treaty, the Council has to take its decisions either by a simple majority vote, a ‘qualified majority’ vote or unanimously, depending on the subject to be decided.
  3. 3. The Council has to agree unanimously onimportant questions such as taxation,amending the Treaties, launching a new commonpolicy or allowing a new country to join the Union.In most other cases, qualifi ed majority voting isused. This means that a Council decision is adoptedif a specifi ed minimum number of votes are cast inits favour.The number of votes allocated to each EU countryroughly refl ects the size of its population.
  4. 4.  Until 1 November 2014, assuming the EU still has 27 member states, a decision is adopted if: at least 255 of the 347 votes (i.e. 73.91 %) are cast in favour; it is approved by a majority of member states, i.e. at least 14; i f these favourable member states represent at least 62 % of the EU’s population.
  5. 5.  1. What’s the Council’s main job? 2. How many votes at least have to be casted in favour?

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