Council of European Union = The Council of Ministers = The Council
The Council of the European Union (often referred to the Council of Ministers, or just the Council) is one of the institutions of the European Union and with the European Parliament is part of the EU legislature. It consists of the national ministers of the Member states (twenty-eight ministers; one per EU Member state).
The Council meets in ten different configurations of the ministers according to the topic under consideration and in the meetings participate the national ministers whose portfolio includes this policy area.
The main responsibilities of the Council lay in coordination of the broad economic policies of EU member countries, signing agreements between the EU and other countries, approval of the annual EU budget, development of the foreign and defense policies of the EU and coordination and cooperation between courts and police forces of member countries.
The Presidency of the Council of the EU rotates every six months among the governments of EU member states. The continuity between presidencies is provided by an arrangement under which three successive presidencies, known as Presidency trios, share common political programmes.
The citizens can participate in the decision-making process of the Council in national level by presenting their position about different policy areas. Also can influence the priorities in the political programme during the different Presidency of the Council by sending their proposals, at lest one year in advance, to the Member state which will have the next Presidency.
Citizens can give propositions and express their opinion by connecting to the Permanent Representations of the Member States following the link: http://europa.eu/whoiswho/public/index.cfm?fuseaction=idea.hierarchy&nodeID=3780
Citizens can express their opinion in all kind of consultations and referendums initiated by the EU. Everyone can give his/her opinion and to play active role in the European policy-making process visiting the page of European Commission
Citizens can participate in the process of preparation and co-ordination of the national position that is presented to the Council of European Union ny their Governments.
Source of the photo: http://www.heritageportal.eu/Resources/EU-Insitutions/European-Council.html