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Explore the heart of Europe: visit the European Council and the Council of the European Union in Brussels

EU The Council of the European Union, the European building
Copyright: EU - The European Union
Read here how you can visit the heart of European politics for free.
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The European Council
Copyright: @European Union

Brussels, 17.06.2024

Imagine standing at the heart of Europe, where crucial decisions that shape the continent's future are made. It happens in the European Council and the Council of the European Union, which is the stage for important discussions and agreements that affect the lives of over 450 million people. In fact, you don't just have to imagine it, because you can visit these unique institutions and experience European history unfolding first hand.

The European Council and the Council of the European Union invite you to step inside and explore the heart of European political decision-making. It is completely free, and is open to everyone after registration, making it an accessible and enriching experience for everyone.

What is the Council? 
The European Council consists of the heads of state and government from the 27 EU member states, while the Council of the European Union consists of national ministers from each EU country. The two councils also have different roles – the European Council sets the EU's general political direction and priorities, but does not adopt EU legislation. 

However, the Council of the European Union negotiates and adopts legislation, usually together with the European Parliament. Both the European Council and the Council act as mouthpieces for the governments of the EU member states in the Union.

Every six months, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates, adding a new and fresh perspective from different Member States. 

Imagine being present when Hungary takes over the Presidency from July to December 2024, followed by Poland in the first half of 2025, and then Denmark in the second half. Each presidency brings its unique focus, shaping the agenda and steering the discussions that drive Europe's progress.

Why visit the Council? 
A visit to the European Council gives you a unique opportunity to experience the heart of European politics. You will discover how leaders gather, debate and decide on the policies that will shape Europe's future. It is an experience that is both enlightening and inspiring and gives a deeper understanding of the cooperation that keeps Europe united and forward-looking.

Enter the European Council, also known as House of the Member States, where the EU's future is set out by the leaders of the member states. The European Council is not just a place – it is a dynamic center where the EU's general political direction and priorities are determined.

Here, crucial decisions are made that affect us all.

Experience the European Council 
There are different ways to experience the Council, all adapted to different group sizes and interests:

Individuals and small groups of fewer than 20 people have several options:

  • Visitor Center: Immerse yourself in an interactive multimedia experience. Learn about the Council's work, take part in quizzes and take pictures in front of a photo wall. The visitor center offers content in all 24 official EU languages, ensuring an exciting and engaging visit. As a visitor, you have access to the public areas of the Council's premises. The visitor center is open from Monday to Friday, 10:00 – 16:00 (10:00 – 13:00 in August).
  • Weekly guided tours: Every Friday at At 8:00 you can take part in a guided tour with an expert in the Council's Justus Lipsius and Europa buildings. Experience the inner workings of the Council and experience the iconic lantern-shaped hall in the Europa building. The tours last one hour and are held in French and English.

Larger groups of over 20 people can get tailored informational tours. 

These tailored sessions with Council officials are designed to broaden your understanding of the EU and its decision-making processes.

They are available in all 24 official languages, last between one and two hours, and offer an interactive experience with opportunities for questions and discussions.

How to visit the European Council and the Council of the European Union 

Plan your visit by registering in advance:

  • Visitor Center and Weekly Guided Tours: Register at least 7 working days in advance
  • Information tour: Register at least 20 working days before your visit.

You can find more details and book your visit here and learn more about The European Council and the Council of the European Union here.

So why not step into the world where European leaders meet and make decisions that shape our shared future next time you're in Brussels.

The European Council and the Council of the European Union welcome you to discover the heart of Europe!

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