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When and Why the EU Council of Ministers Votes Explicitly

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  • FIONA HAYES-RENSHAW
  • WIM VAN AKEN
  • HELEN WALLACE
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    Abstract

    This article presents newly collected empirical data sets on explicitly contested voting at ministerial level in the Council of Ministers of the European Union. These data sets cover the period 1994-2004, with greater detail for the years 1998-2004. They provide us with rather steady patterns of explicitly contested voting across the period in terms of: proportions of decisions taken where contested voting was recorded; the different levels of contestation by country; and the issue areas in which explicit voting occurred more often. The data show that explicit voting on agreed decisions at ministerial level is rather rare, that in nearly half the roll calls dissent is expressed only by singleton (lone) Member States, that nearly half the cases concern 'technical' decisions on agriculture and fisheries, and that Germany votes 'no' or abstains more often than any other Member State. The data confirm that ministers generally endorse collective decisions by consensus, even in those cases (some 70 per cent of the total) where they could activate qualified majority voting (QMV). To the extent that voting takes place in these latter cases, it occurs implicitly rather than explicitly, operates mostly at the level of officials rather than ministers, and is not recorded systematically in publicly accessible form. These patterns are consistent with earlier accounts based on qualitative interview evidence. Copyright 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies.

    Volume (Year): 44 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 1 (03)
    Pages: 161-194

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jcmkts:v:44:y:2006:i:1:p:161-194

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    Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0021-9886

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    Cited by:
    1. Kaniovski, Serguei, 2009. "An invariance result for homogeneous juries with correlated votes," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 213-222, March.
    2. Sigrid Winkler, 2013. "A question of sovereignty?," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 1-20, March.
    3. Běla Plechanovová, 2011. "Coalitions in the EU Council: Pitfalls of Multidimensional Analysis," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 5(3), pages 249-266, November.
    4. Serguei Kaniovski & Dennis Leech, 2009. "A behavioral power index," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 141(1), pages 17-29, October.
    5. Daniel Naurin, 2007. "Network Capital and Cooperation Patterns in the Working Groups of the Council of the EU," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 14, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
    6. Serguei Kaniovski & Alexander Zaigraev, 2011. "Optimal jury design for homogeneous juries with correlated votes," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 71(4), pages 439-459, October.
    7. Jakob Lempp, 2007. "ÒCoreper EnlargedÓ: how Enlargement Affected the Functioning of the Committee of Permanent Representatives," European Political Economy Review, European Political Economy Infrastructure Consortium, vol. 6(March), pages 31-52.

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