The European Council is the group of heads of state or government of the EU member states. It meets at least four times a year to define the Union's policy agenda. It is the EU institution that defines the general political direction and priorities of the European Union. The European Council president, currently Charles Michel, prepares and chairs European Council meetings and drives forward its work.
The European Council has to be distinguished from the 'Council of the European Union', the council of national ministers from EU member states. The European Council and the Council of the European Union are the only EU institutions that are explicitly intergovernmental, i.e. forums whose attendees express and represent the positions of their respective member states’ executives, be they ambassadors, ministers or heads of state/government.