Совет Европейского Союза

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Совет Европейского Союза является наравне с Европейским парламентом законодательным органом Европейского союза. В него входят министры из правительств всех стран участников Европейского союза. Иногда Совет Европейского Союза в официальных документах упоминается просто как «Совет», а неофициально «Советом министров» (Это название может стать официальным если будет принята Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe).

Во главе Совета стоит Председатель и Генеральный секретарь. The President of the Council is a Minister of the state currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union; while the Secretary-General is a civil servant, the head of the Council Secretariat. The Secretary-General also serves as the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The Council is assisted by COREPER, which consists of the ambassadors (Coreper II) or their deputies (Coreper I) from the diplomatic representations of the Member States to the European Communities. COREPER generally prepares the Council agenda, and negotiates minor and non-controversial matters, leaving controversial issues for discussion, and other issues for formal agreement, by the Council. Below Coreper, civil servants from the Member States negotiate in Council Working Groups, often reaching de facto agreement which is formalised through Coreper and the Council of Ministers.

The Council of the European Union is to be distinguished from the Council of Europe which is a completely separate international organisation. It should also be distinguished from the European Council, sometimes referred to as the 'European Summit', which is a separate but closely related institution.

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Formations

Legally speaking, the Council is a single entity, but it is in practice divided into several different councils, each dealing with a different functional area. Each council is attended by a different type of minister. Thus, for example, meetings of the Council in its Agriculture and Fisheries formation are attended by the agriculture ministers of each member state. There are currently nine formations:

  • General Affairs and External Relations (GAERC): The most important of the formations, GAERC is composed of ministers for foreign affairs and meets once a month. Since June 2002 it has held separate meetings on general affairs and external relations.
    • The GAERC also coordinates preparation for and follow-up to meetings of the European Council.
    • At its sessions on External Relations, under the context of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy also takes part.
  • Economic and Financial Affairs (Ecofin): Composed of economics and finance ministers of the member states.
  • Agriculture and Fisheries: One of the oldest configurations, this brings together once a month the ministers for agriculture and fisheries, and the commissioners responsible for agriculture, fisheries, food safety, veterinary questions and public health matters.
  • Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA): This configuration brings together Justice ministers and Interior Ministers of the Member States.
  • Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO): Composed of employment, social protection, consumer protection, health and equal opportunities ministers.
  • Competitiveness: Created in June 2002 through the merging of three previous configurations (Internal Market, Industry and Research). Depending on the items on the agenda, this formation is composed of ministers responsible for areas such as european affairs, industry and scientific research.
  • Transport, Telecommunications and Energy: Also created in June 2002, through the merging of three policies under one configuration, and with a composition also varying according to the specific items on its the agenda. This formation meets approximately once every two months.
  • Environment: Composed of environment ministers, who meet about four times a year.
  • Education, Youth and Culture (EYC): Composed of education, culture, youth and communications ministers, who meet around three or four times a year.

Voting

The Council votes either by unanimity or by Qualified Majority Voting. The voting system used for a given decision depends on the policy area to which that decision belongs; according to the founding treaties, some subjects require unanimity, while others require only a qualified majority. Even in those areas which require a qualified majority, the Council is required to try to reach a unanimous decision where possible.

Countries of the EU hold different numbers of votes in the Council. The number of votes held by each country is based indirectly on the size of the country's population, but smaller countries are granted a greater number of votes than their population would strictly merit. This concept is aimed at balancing the voices of larger countries with those of smaller countries.

On 1 November 2004, modified voting weights from the Treaty of Nice came into effect (this date was revised by the Treaty of Accession 2003 from the originally intended date of 1 January, 2005). The Nice Treaty also provides for qualified majority voting to require a 'double majority' of both population and number of countries. Further revisions to the voting system are made in the proposed Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, which was signed on 29 October, 2004 but has yet to be ratified by all member states.

Political parties

Main article: Parties in the Council of the European Union

Almost all of the leaders and ministers of each member state belong to political parties at the national level. Many of these national parties belong to formal political groupings in the European Parliament. However there are no formal political groups or alliances in the Council, and countries led by similar political parties are often not in agreement on questions that come before the body. Nonetheless the table below describes the current breakdown of party affiliations in the Council, as of March 2005, in terms of the European parliamentary alliances with which the leader of each member state is indirectly associated.

Parliamentary group No. of states
European People's Party - European Democrats 10
Party of European Socialists 9
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe 5
Union for a Europe of Nations 1

See also

  • List of EU related topics

External links


 
Институты и органы Европейского Союза

Европейский парламент | Европейская Комиссия | Совет Европейского Союза | Европейский совет | Европейская судебная палата | Европейская счетная палата

Службы и агентства Европейского Союза:
Европейское агентство по безопасности полетов | Европейское агентство морской безопасности | Европейское агентство по оценке лекарств | Европейское агентство по безопасности продуктов питания | Европейское железнодорожное агентство | Европейское агентство по контролю за рыбной ловлей | Европейская полицейская академия | Европейское агентство по окружающей среде | Европейское агентство по обороне | Европейский центральный банк | Евроюст | Европол | Евростат

Прочие институты и учреждения:
Комитет регионов | Европейский уполномоченный по правам человека | Европейский наблюдатель по защите данных | Европейский экономический и социальный комитет


 
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