The Council of the European Union – which is more commonly referred to simply as the Council (the name used in the Lisbon Treaty) and at times the Council of Ministers – is the principal meeting place of the national governments. When the Community was founded in the 1950s many expected that in time, as joint policies were seen to work and as the member states came to trust one another more, the role of the Council would gradually decline, especially in relation to the Commission. This has not happened. On the contrary, by guarding and building on the responsibilities that are accorded to it in the treaties, and by adapting its internal mechanisms to enable it to cope more easily with the increasing volume of business that has come its way, the Council not only has defended, but in some respects has extended its power and influence.
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