How does the EU take decisions?
The member countries are in charge of EU decisions.Updated: Sep 06, 2005 15:28 IST
The member countries are in charge of EU decisions. This is how they are made:
The Commission decides that a law is needed, for example to remove trade barriers. It drafts a text and proposes it to the Council of Ministers. The Council discusses this proposal and, eventually, votes on it. Nothing can become law unless the member countries agree to it in this way. On most subjects the European Parliament also needs to agree.
Some subjects are so important that all member countries have to agree before any decision can be taken. These include tax, foreign policy and defence matters.
But in most cases, countries take decisions in the Council by a "qualified majority vote".
This process has three parts:
– Each member country has a weighted vote -- Britain, France, Germany and Italy each have 29 votes out of a total of 321. Other countries have fewer votes, according to their size. For a decision to carry, at least 232 votes must be cast in favour.
– These votes must be cast by more than 50 per cent of member countries.
– The votes must represent at least 62 per cent of the population of member countries.
First Published: Sep 06, 2005 15:28 IST