Each Member State has a national delegation in Brussels known as the Permanent Representation. These delegations are headed by Permanent Representatives, who are normally very senior diplomats and whose committee, called Coreper, prepares ministerial sessions. Coreper meets weekly and its main task is to ensure that only the most difficult and sensitive issues are dealt with at ministerial level.
Coreper is also the destination of reports from the many Council working groups of national experts. These groups make detailed examinations of Commission proposals and indicate, among other things, areas of agreement and disagreement.
The Secretariat-General provides the intellectual and practical infrastructure of the Council at all levels. It is an element of continuity in the Council proceedings and has the custody of Council acts and archives. Its Legal Service advises the Council and committees on legal matters. The Secretariat-General is appointed by the Council acting unanimously.