There are two official EU institutions which have very similar names but do very different things:

  • The European Council, which is a strategic body comprised of the heads of state or government of the member states, and
  • the Council of the European Union or just Council, which is one of the legislative bodies of the EU and consists of the national ministers (in varying combinations).

Obviously, this can lead to a lot of confusion. Why weren't more distinctive names chosen for those two institutions? (In particular, since there's also the Council of Europe, which predates the European Union and is something completely differnt.)

  • 3
    They are both councils, and they are both European. You can only get so creative. – SPavel Mar 14 '17 at 15:27
  • @SPavel: Well, "European Council of Heads" and "European Council of Ministers" would have been an option. But "European Council" and "Council of the European Union"? Seriously? – Heinzi Mar 14 '17 at 15:31
  • There was probably a subcommittee of a subcommittee of a committee of naming that decided this. If I know my politics, it was selected because it was the only name that everyone could agree on, not because it was the only idea they had. – SPavel Mar 14 '17 at 15:42
  • 2
    OOC, are the names less confusing in French? Only a couple of countries in the EU speak English (about to become only one, I believe). – T.E.D. Mar 14 '17 at 16:09
  • @T.E.D.: According to Wikipedia, it's Conseil européen and Conseil de l'Union européenne (or Le Conseil), which is even more similar. In German, which is my main language, it's pretty much the same as in English. – Heinzi Mar 14 '17 at 16:17

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