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Rat der Europäischen Union#

Council of the European Union, consists of representatives of the member states of the (see) European Union at ministerial level, empowered to take decisions binding on their respective governments; headquartered in Brussels, Belgium (sometimes meets in Luxemburg); presided over for a period of six months by each member state in turn, in accordance with a pre-established rota (Austria held the presidency for the first time in the period July to December 1998). Its terms of reference comprise three fields of activity: Community Activities; Common Foreign and Security Policy; and Justice and Internal Affairs. Community activities comprise the coordination of the member states' economic policies with a view to achieving the objectives laid down in the EU Treaty; upon proposals by the (see) European Commission the Council takes decisions concerning common policies, with the member states' parliaments being involved, to a greater or less extent, in the procedure; the Council also takes the decisions necessary for defining and implementing the common foreign and security policy; and in the field of justice and internal affairs, the Council predominantly makes recommendations for joint activities and agreements. Many Council decisions (in particular on the common foreign and security policy, justice and internal affairs, taxes etc.) require unanimity, while in other cases a qualified majority of at least 62 of the total number of 87 members entitled to vote is required.