Blocking minority

(Photo: EU Commission)

Blocking minority

A blocking minority is the number of votes needed  on the EU Council of Ministers to block a decision requiring to be made by qualified majority voting. Prior to November 2014 in the EU 28 a blocking minority required 93 votes of the 352 votes in the Council. A qualified majority required 260 of 352 votes.

The Lisbon Treaty introduced a radical reform regarding voting in the Council with the  so-called “double majority” from 1 November 2014. First, an approval requires 55% of the member states, which meant 15 of the then 28 members, and second,that 55% of the states must also represent 65% of the total EU population.

blocking minority can thus be established by little more than 45% of the member states or by countries representing at least 35% of the member states as long as there is  a minimum of four states

For proposals not coming from the Commission or the Foreign Minister there must be 72% of member states behind  them - which means a blocking minority of a little more than 28% of member states.

This new voting system gives the biggest member states  much stronger voting power in the Council of Ministers than the previous system. 



The Union's decision-making procedure

See also Voting in the Council.