The Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers is a collective body and as such it exercises a major role in the complex Government structure. It is chaired by the Prime Minister and consists of all Ministers with or without portfolio. Except for the Undersecretary of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, who exercises the functions of secretary of the board, no other Undersecretary of State is entitled to take part in the Cabinet meetings. By virtue of specific provisions, the Presidents of the Italian regions with special statute  (Aosta Valley, Sardinia, Sicily, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino Alto Adige ) and of the two autonomous provinces (Trento and Bolzano) may attend Cabinet meetings, with advisory vote, if matters of interest to them are tackled.

Duties

In accordance with Article 2 of Law No 400/88, the Council of Ministers determines the general policy of the Government and for its implementation the general direction of its administrative actions. The Council takes decisions regarding the political direction established with the Houses of Parliament on the basis of their trust relationship, and settles conflicts of competence between Ministers. Lastly, the Council of Ministers expresses consent to the Prime Minister’s initiative of moving a motion of confidence in the Parliament. Law No 400/88, paragraph 3 of Article no 2 specifies all proceedings subject to Council decisions.

Functioning

The Council of Ministers is convened by the Prime Minister who also decides its agenda. The minutes are drafted by the Undersecretary of State of the Council of Ministers who carries out the functions of  Secretary; he is also in charge of the record of decisions. In case the Prime Minister is absent or unable to attend, the Cabinet meetings are chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, and if there is more than one Deputy Prime Minister, by the senior Deputy Prime Minister. If a Deputy Prime Minister has not been appointed, as this is an optional post in the Government, the older Minister shall carry out these functions. 

The rules of procedure of the Council of Ministers are defined in the  specific regulation  adopted by the Prime Ministerial Decree of 10 November 1993, following the Council deliberation of 10 November 1993. 
The regulation oversees Cabinet meeting attendance and rules.

Governo Italiano Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri