Voting in the Council
- (Photo: Notat)
The decision-making rules basically demand an absolute majority of member states (14 of 27 countries), but this method is seldom used.
A member state can ask to control if a decision by qualified majority also represents member states with 62 % of the whole EU population. This possibility has never bes used because qualified majority requires 74% of the weighted votes in the Council of Ministers.
The table shows the number of votes for each member state.
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.
The Lisbon Treaty provides for a new voting system with a so-called „double majority”. It will be introduced from 2014.
A qualified majority will then require support from 55% of the member states, representing at least 65% of the EU's population. Or 72 % of the states and still 65 % of the population if an initiative from the Commission is not required.
Member states will then vote after the exact numbers of citizens counted each year. Small member states may halve their vote while Germany will double its vote. You can see the scheme here:
|Nice Treaty||Lisbon Treaty|
|% of votes in the Council||Number of votes||% of EU population||Population in millions|