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Council Decision Rules and European Union Constitutional Design

In the recent past, the choice of adequate voting weights and decision rules for the Council of the European Union (EU) has been a highly contested issue in EU intergovernmental negotiations. In general terms, the selection of a threshold for qualified majority votes (QMV) in the Council constitutes a trade-off in terms of decreased sovereignty for individual governments versus an increased collective ‘capacity to act’. This paper compares the effects of the proposal tabled by the Convention on the Future of Europe with the Nice Treaty provisions and the Lisbon Treaty, in terms of both the efficiency of decision-making and the distribution of relative voting power within the EU of twenty-seven member states. In addition, the paper shows how with the current size of EU membership, the EU risks being unable to reach intergovernmental agreement. Accordingly, a challenging issue for the future of the EU is to move towards reasonable provisions that allow its own constitution – if ever adopted – to get amended.

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Article provided by Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies in its journal AUCO Czech Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 2 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 076-096

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Handle: RePEc:fau:aucocz:au2008_076
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  1. Moshé Machover & Dan S. Felsenthal, 2001. "The Treaty of Nice and qualified majority voting," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 431-464.
  2. Annick Laruelle & Mika Widgrén, 1998. "Is the allocation of voting power among EU states fair?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(3), pages 317-339, March.
  3. Baldwin, Richard & Berglöf, Erik & Giavazzi, Francesco & Widgrén, Mika, 2000. "EU Reforms for Tomorrow’s Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 2623, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Hosli, Madeleine O., 1993. "Admission of European Free Trade Association states to the European Community: effects on voting power in the European Community Council of Ministers," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(04), pages 629-643, September.
  5. Axel Moberg, 2002. "The Nice Treaty and Voting Rules in the Council," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 259-282, 06.
  6. D. Kilgour & Terrence Levesque, 1984. "The Canadian constitutional amending formula: Bargaining in the past and the future," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 457-480, January.
  7. Leech, Dennis, 2002. " Designing the Voting System for the Council of the European Union," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(3-4), pages 437-64, December.
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