Voting in the Council, big change from November 2014

(Photo: Notat)

The decision-making rules basically demand an absolute majority of member states (15 of 28 countries), but this method is seldom used.

Much more common is qualified majority voting and some times unanimity. Qualified majority  is 260 of 352 possible votes in the Council until 1 Novem,ber 2014. Then, the system is changed into "double majority".

First, there must be a majority of 55% of the member states. Then, they must also represent 65% of the total EU population. If a proposal does not origin in the Commission there must be 74% of the member states behind - super qualified majority.

Before 2009 a  member state could ask to control if a decision by qualified majority also represented member states with 62 % of the whole EU population. This possibility has never been used because qualified majority required 74% of the weighted votes in the Council of Ministers.

The table shows the number of votes for each member state until 1 November 2014.

Germany 29
United Kingdom 29
France 29
Italy 29
Spain 27
Poland 27
Romania 14
Netherlands 13
Greece 12
Czech Republic 12
Belgium 12
Hungary 12
Portugal 12
Sweden 10
Austria 10
Bulgaria 10
Slovakia 7
Denmark 7
Croatia 7
Finland 7

Ireland

7
Lithuania 7
Latvia 4
Slovenia 4
Estonia 4
Cyprus 4
Luxembourg 4
Malta 3
TOTAL 352

Qualified majority is 260


For 2008 the Council of Ministers published a list with 147 votes from the total number of 536 legal acts adopted by the Council. Of the 147 votes 128 were unanimous. There were only 8 votes against a law, two from Luxembourg and one from each of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Netherlands and Portugal. There were 32 abstentions of a possible number of 14,472 votes. (536 x 27 member states). This is 0,0006 % only.

 

Population, votes in The Council and members of the European Parliament, euABC.com:

Country

Population (mio.)

Population (% of EU)

Votes in The Council

Votes in The Council (%)

Number of MEP’s

As % of all MEP’s

Germany

80,523

15,93

29

8,24

96

12,78

France

65,633

12,98

29

8,24

74

9,85

United King.

63,730

12,60

29

8,24

73

9,72

Italy

59,685

11,80

29

8,24

73

9,72

Spain

46,704

9,24

27

7,67

54

7,19

Poland

38,533

7,62

27

7,67

51

6,79

Romania

20,057

3,97

14

3,98

32

4,26

Netherlands

16,779

3,32

13

3,69

26

3,46

Belgium

11,161

2,21

12

3,41

21

2,79

Greece

11,062

2,19

12

3,41

21

2,79

Czech Rep.

10,516

2,08

12

3,41

21

2,79

Portugal

10,487

2,07

12

3,41

21

2,79

Hungary

9,908

1,96

12

3,41

21

2,79

Sweden

9,555

1,89

10

2,84

20

2,66

Austria

8,451

1,67

10

2,84

18

2,39

Bulgaria

7,284

1,44

10

2,84

17

2,26

Denmark

5,602

1,11

7

1,99

13

1,73

Finland

5,426

1,07

7

1,99

13

1,73

Slovakia

5,410

1,07

7

1,99

13

1,73

Ireland

4,591

0,91

7

1,99

11

1,46

Croatia

4,262

0,84

7

1,99

11

1,46

Lithuania

2,971

0,59

7

1,99

11

1,46

Slovenia

2,058

0,41

4

1,14

8

1,06

Latvia

2,023

0,40

4

1,14

8

1,06

Estonia

1,324

0,26

4

1,14

6

0,79

Cyprus

0,865

0,17

4

1,14

6

0,79

Luxembourg

0,537

0,11

4

1,14

6

0,79

Malta

0,421

0,08

3

0,85

6

0,79

In total

505,572

100

352

100

751

100

There must be 260 votes for qualified majority voting in the Council and 93 for a blocking minority. November 1, 2014 qualified majority is 55% of countries, while representing 65% of the total EU population. Votes by the listed population. There must be 72% of the countries to super qualified majority, for example in the selection of commissioners. There must be 376 members for an absolute majority in the European Parliament. See the explanations in www.euABC.com

     

See also Qualified majority and Luxembourg compromise