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The European Council defines the EU's overall political direction and priorities. It is not one of the EU's legislating institutions, so does not negotiate or adopt EU laws. Instead it sets the EU's policy agenda, traditionally by adopting 'conclusions' during European Council meetings which identify issues of concern and actions to take.
European Council President Charles Michel delivered a speech during the session on 'Three Nations – One Choice: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine on the Move' of the Batumi International Conference, on 19 July 2021, in Batumi.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, held a joint press conference with the Lithuanian President, Gitanas Nausėda, on his arrival in Vilnius for the Statehood Day celebrations and a series of meetings on the situation in the region.
President Charles Michel spoke at the opening of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris on Wednesday 30 June 2021
European Council meetings
The European Council meets at least twice every 6 months. Its meetings, often referred to as 'EU summits' are held in Brussels, in the Europa building.
Meetings are chaired by the European Council President. The President can also convene extraordinary European Council meetings when needed.
The President of the European Parliament attends the start of each meeting, to outline the European Parliament's views. Other people, such as the President of the European Central Bank, may be invited to attend meetings, depending on the issues being discussed.
An EU-US summit took place in Brussels on 15 June 2021. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, represented the EU. President Joe Biden represented the United States.
The 18th EU-Canada summit took place in Brussels on 14 June 2021. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, represented the EU. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau represented Canada.
This year's G7 summit took place in Cornwall, United Kingdom, from 11 to 13 June 2021. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, represented the EU.
The leaders of the EU and Japan held their 27th summit, via video conference, at which they launched a "green alliance" to accelerate climate and environmental action. They also discussed global issues, bilateral relations and foreign and security policy, including COVID-19 recovery, the digital transformation, and the implementation of the EU-Japan economic partnership agreement.
At a leaders' meeting on 8 May, the EU and India agreed to relaunch trade negotiations and start negotiations on investment protection and geographical indications. They also adopted a new connectivity partnership and committed to their human rights dialogue and strengthening their security cooperation.
The Porto Social Summit brought together EU leaders, European institutions, social partners and civil society representatives to set the European social policy agenda for the next decade, by reaffirming the EU's commitment to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
History of the European Council
The European Council was created in 1974 as an informal forum for discussion between heads of state or government of the EU member states. It soon developed a role as the body responsible for fixing EU goals and priorities.
Under the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, the European Council acquired a formal status and role - to provide the impetus and general political guidelines for the EU.
In 2009, following the changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, the European Council became one of the 7 EU institutions.