As a Minister of the Council you are a member of one of the most influential actors in the European Union. The atmosphere in the Council is somewhat more intimate than in then European Parliament and thus there is more potential time to make your country's position known. This is therefore a demanding role and there are no back-benches to hide.
The Council of the European Union brings together the Ministers of the 27 national governments in the EU. Depending on the topic at hand, national Ministers convene in 10 different Council configurations, such as the General Affairs Council, the Foreign Affairs Council, the Agriculture and Fisheries Council etc.
It follows that the Ministers of the Council will have to maintain close contacts with the MEPs in order to take their position into consideration and to collectively try to reach compromises on the legislation under examination. This is particularly important in MEU, as the simulation does not include a Conciliation Committee. In order to facilitate cooperation between the Council and the European Parliament, trilogue meetings shall be regularly organised, as in reality. During these meetings, the representative of the Member State holding the presidency of the Council, namely the Permanent Representative of Ireland, shall meet up with 3 MEPs and the Commissioner responsible for each Proposal in order to exchange views and reach compromises on the legislation at issue. In essence, the task of the Ministers of the Council shall be to represent their national governments and, therefore, their national interests and sensitivities. Furthermore, in order to achieve a qualified majority in favour of their positions, Ministers shall have to form alliances with Ministers from other Member States. This can be best achieved by way of formal and informal discussions, clever negotiating tactics and close cooperation with lobby groups.
In MEU 2013, participants acting as Ministers are going to experience the work and reality of real politicians in the Council of the European Union. In their capacity as Ministers, participants shall represent their assigned countries and defend their respective national interests in one of the two legislative bodies of the EU. Debates on each Proposal shall be preceded by introductory speeches given by all Ministers. It is highly recommended that Ministers prepare these speeches in advance, that is to say prior to their arrival in Strasbourg. Each participant should be familiar not only with the policies of their Member State but also with the policies of the other Member States, as forming alliances and creating consensus play a crucial role in the Council. Due to the small number of the members of the Council –in comparison with the Parliament- a single vote can define the final result. Decisions shall be made by qualified majority, according to the system and rules enshrined in the Treaties. Votes shall be precise simulations of the real voting practice of the Council!