The European Union Explained: Institutions, Actors, Global Impact

By Andreas Staab | Go to book overview

5
The Council of Ministers

Organization

The Council of Ministers epitomizes the special nature of the European Union as an international organization that balances supranational tendencies but also has to safeguard and represent national interests.1 Its main objective is to set the EU’s medium-term policy goals. It also approves the budget and legislation proposed by the European Commission (a function it shares with the European Parliament). Finally, the Council of Ministers holds certain executive powers for foreign and security policies and for justice and home affairs.

The Council carries out its operations through ten sub-councils with different responsibilities (see Table 5.1). Examples are the Environment Council, where all national environment ministers meet, or the Foreign Affairs Council, which brings together the national foreign ministers. The number of Council meetings depends on the scope and intensity of the particular legislative program. Some sub-councils meet monthly—the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN), the Agriculture Council, and the General Affairs Council—whereas others, such as the Transport Council, meet less frequently.

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The European Union Explained: Institutions, Actors, Global Impact
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Acronyms xv
  • Tables xix
  • Part One - The Evolution of the European Union 1
  • 1 - Parameters of European Integration 3
  • 2 - Enlarsement 32
  • Part Two - Institutions 47
  • 3 - The European Commission 49
  • 4 - The European Council 56
  • 5 - The Council of Ministers 61
  • 6 - The European Parliament 67
  • 7 - The European Court of Justice 76
  • 8 - Checks and Balances 84
  • Part Three - Policies 91
  • 9 - The Single Market and Competition 93
  • 10 - Regional Rolicy and Cohesion 106
  • 11 - The Common Agricultural Policy 116
  • 12 - Economic and Monetary Union 128
  • 13 - Justice and Home Affairs 141
  • 14 - Common Foreign and Security Policy 151
  • 15 - Trade and the Common Commercial Policy 161
  • 16 - Environment 171
  • 17 - The Sovereign Debt Crisis in the Eurozone 179
  • Outlook- The Future of European Integration 197
  • Notes 205
  • Bibliosraphy 225
  • Index 229
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