Qualified majority voting, QMV
A simple majority requires one more than half of the given votes.
An absolute majority requires more than 50% of all members, irrespective of the number of those voting.
Decision by qualified majority in the Council of Ministers requires 260 out of 352 votes. The votes of the member states are weighted. From 1 November 2014 member states vote with double majority.
The Lisbon Treaty imposes a new system, where member states also vote according to their population. Then e.g., Ireland will vote with 4,6 million citizens and Germany with 80,5 million.
From November 2014 there shall be 55 % of the member states representing 65% of the population of the EU to adopt an act.
At least four countries are needed to block a decision while at least 15 countries must back up a decision for it to come into force.
Including the population factor mainly benefits the bigger countries while the "one country one vote" element benefits the smaller countries. The new system makes it much easier to take decisions. Today qualified majority requires 74% of the weighted votes in the Council.
The Lisbon system requires 72% of the member states and 65% of the population for the few cases where a proposal does not need a Commission initiative. In this lexicon we call it super qualified majority. It is used when a new Commission shall be assembled and when the European Council shall elect its permanent President.
- In normal voting procedures in international organisations, every member has one vote each. In the EU Council of Ministers, they normally vote with weighting votes where e.g. Ireland vote with 7 votes and Germany and the UK with 29 votes each.
- Qualified majority voting is the most common form of voting in the EU Council of Ministers.
See also with the number of votes for each country in Voting in the Council, Majority voting