Council decides by simple majority

Source: Europa Nu.

A vote in favour by more then half the member states means a proposal is adopted. It is not about votes cast in a particular vote; it means half of actual number of the member states of the EU plus one.

Member states are allowed to abstain from voting. Not all member states need to be present at a vote, a minimum of half the member states plus one is required.

This voting method uses a 'one member state, one vote' system; weighed voting is not applied.

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. A proposal is adopted if half plus one of the participating member states vote in favour.

Application of voting method

This voting method is used 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 issues of minor importance or affairs of a technical nature.

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 simple majority voting this is explicitly mentioned in the Treaties
  • on weighing votes: part six TFEU title I chapter 1 section 3 art. 238 paragraph 1