Council decides by unanimity

Source: Europa Nu.

For a proposal to be adopted no single member state can vote against the proposal. This voting method also requires that all member states cast their vote. Should a member state be absent, no vote may be called. Member states are allowed to abstain without blocking decision making. Should half the member states abstain the vote is considered invalid.

Abstentions and Common Foreign and Security Policy

Should a member state abstain from voting on the issues regarding CFSP that member state does not - by itself - block decision making. The member state in question does not have to abide by the decision should it be adopted. However, the member state is not allowed to act in any way that conflicts or impedes with that decision.

Limited composition of the Council

In a number of policy areas not all member states participate. In such cases only those member states that are subject to European decision-making may cast a vote.

Application of voting method

This voting method applies only when it is explicitly mentioned in the European treaties. In practice, under the Lisbon Treaty this method is applied when the Council of Ministers take decisions on politically sensitive issues.

Legal framework

Voting by simple majority is based on the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

  • application voting method: in cases decision making is based on voting by unanimity this is explicitly mentioned in the Treaties
  • on abstentions: part six TFEU title I chapter 1 section 3 art. 238 paragraph 1
  • abstentions in CFSP: TEU title V chapter 2 section 1 art. 31 paragraph 1
  • limited composition: part six TFEU title III art. 330