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Qualified Majority Voting

From Academic Kids

Voting weights since November 1st 2004:
CountryVotesPop.
(mill.)

Germany2982.0
UK2959.4
France2959.1
Italy2957.7
Spain2739.4
Poland2738.6
Netherlands1315.8
Greece1210.6
Czech R.1210.3
Belgium1210.2
Hungary1210.0
Portugal129.9
Sweden108.9
Austria108.1
Slovakia75.4
Denmark75.3
Finland75.2
Lithuania73.7
Ireland73.7
Latvia42.4
Slovenia42.0
Estonia41.4
Cyprus40.8
Luxembourg40.4
Malta30.4
Total votes321
Qualified majority232
Blocking votes90

</table>

Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) is a voting procedure employed in the Council of the European Union for some decisions. According to the procedure, each member state has a fixed number of votes. The number allocated to each country is roughly determined by its population, but progressively weighted in favour of smaller countries.

To pass a vote by QMV, all three of the following conditions must apply:

  • the proposal must be supported by 232 out of the total of 321 votes (72.27%);
  • the proposal must be backed by a majority of member states;
  • the countries supporting the proposal must represent at least 62% of the total EU population.

If the new Treaty establishing a constitution for Europe comes into force, the conditions for passing a vote will be simplified. In this case, a QMV decision will require a 'double majority' of 55% of member states representing 65% of citizens. This will make it more difficult for a minority of countries to block a decision.

Use of QMV vs unanimity

At present, QMV is used to pass many decisions, while others require unanimity among all Council members. Under the proposed Treaty establishing a constitution for Europe, which has to be ratified by all member states before it can enter into force, decisions in about 20 more policy areas will be taken using QMV, leaving only key sensitive issues to be decided unanimously (including tax, social policy, defence, foreign policy and treaty revision).

Supporters argue that this change will be necessary in order to streamline decision-making and prevent gridlock in a newly enlarged European Union. Some commentators have seen the change as a loss of sovereignty from individual member states, since it effectively abolishes the national veto in many areas.

See also

External links

nl:Gekwalificeerde meerderheidstemming pl:Głosowanie kwalifikowaną większością

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