Council of the EU and Ministerial meetings
The Council of the European Union is the organ in charge of adopting major European decisions and acts normally along with the European Parliament, making it like that, a true law-maker of the EU.
It is composed of a representative from each member country of the branch or field under consideration; generally a Minister or a Secretary of State.
Although the Council is a single body, it meets in different configurations according to the issues being discussed. There are currently ten configurations which are:
- General Affairs;
- Foreign Affairs;
- Economic and Financial Affairs;
- Justice and Home Affairs;
- Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs;
- Transport, Telecommunications and Energy;
- Agriculture and Fisheries and Environment;
- Education, Youth, Culture and Sport.
Since 2007, the EPP has organised EPP Ministerial Meetings previous to the meetings of the Council of the EU. These Ministerial Meetings are an offspring of the EPP Summit and gather EPP ministers of attending the Council who are often joined by Commissioners and MEPs of the respective fields. As with the EPP Summit, the aim of the Ministerial Meetings is to discuss and harmonise the positions of EPP ministers towards the full meeting of the Council but besides that, they have played an important role in drafting declarations and resolutions that have been later approved by the EPP Congress and promoted as a whole in the Council. The first Ministerial Meeting to be inaugurated in 2007 was that of Ministers of Foreign Affairs under the leadership of Franco Frattini, then Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Elmar Brok, MEP (CDU-DE), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament.
The success of this meeting was followed in 2008 by the inauguration of a meeting of Economy and Finance, chaired by then-EPP Vice President and Finnish Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen.
As of today, the EPP counts with a total of 10 Ministerial Meetings which are, in order of their creation, the following:
- Foreign Affairs:
Chaired by Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sebastian Kurz and Elmar Brok, MEP (CDU-DE), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.
- Economic and Financial Affairs (ECOFIN):
Chaired by the Spanish Minister of Economic Affairs, Industry and Competition Luis de Guindos and Vice-President of European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis.
Chaired by European Parliament Vice President Antonio Tajani.
Chaired by German Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen.
Chaired by Austrian Minister of Agriculture Andrä Rupprechter and Irish Minister og Agriculture Simon Coveney.
Chaired by Austrian Minister of Environment Andrä Rupprechter (OVP-AT).
- Justice and Home Affairs:
Chaired by the German Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière and Esteban González Pons (PP-ES).
- General Affairs:
Chaired by EPP Vice-President and Minister for European Affairs and Data Protection of Ireland Dara Murphy,(FG-IE)
Chaired by German MEP and EPP Group Spokesman on International Trade in the European Parliament, Daniel Caspary, MEP (CDU-DE).