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National, Political and Institutional Influence in European Union Decision Making



The distribution of decisional power among member states of the EU has remained a hot issue in recent discussions about the future design of European Union decision making and the Lisbon revision of the unsuccessful proposal of the Constitutional Treaty. Usually only the distribution of voting weights in the Council of Ministers under the qualified majority voting rule is taken into account. In contrast, in this paper we formulate simplified models of the consultation and co-decision procedures in the decision making of European Union institutions, reflecting the fact that together with the Council of Ministers the Commission and European Parliament are also important actors in EU decision making. The main conclusion of this paper is that the distribution of voting power in the Council of Ministers voting record provides incomplete evidence about national influences in European Union decision making. With rare exceptions decision making is based on the consultation and co-decision procedures involvi ng the Commission and/or European Parliament. Legislative procedures change the inter-institutional distribution of power (among the Council, Commission and European Parliament) reducing the power of the Council and at the same time they change intra-institutional power in the Council (the relative power of the Member States compared to the Council voting without taking into account the Commission and Parliament).

Suggested Citation

  • František Turnovec, 2008. "National, Political and Institutional Influence in European Union Decision Making," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 2(2), pages 154-173, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:fau:aucocz:au2008_154

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bindseil, Ulrich & Hantke, Cordula, 1997. "The power distribution in decision making among EU member states," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 171-185, February.
    2. Madeleine O. Hosli, 2008. "Council Decision Rules and European Union Constitutional Design," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 2(1), pages 076-096, March.
    3. Madeleine O. Hosli & Moshé Machover, 2004. "The Nice Treaty and Voting Rules in the Council: A Reply to Moberg (2002)," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 497-521, September.
    4. Leech, Dennis & Aziz, Haris, 2007. "The Double Majority Voting Rule of the EU Reform Treaty as a Democratic Ideal for an Enlarging Union : an Appraisal Using Voting Power Analysis," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 824, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    5. Laruelle, Annick & Widgren, Mika, 1998. "Is the Allocation of Voting Power among EU States Fair?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(3-4), pages 317-339, March.
    6. Stefan Napel & Mika Widgrén, 2006. "The Inter-Institutional Distribution of Power in EU Codecision," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 27(1), pages 129-154, August.
    7. Baldwin, Richard & Widgrén, Mika, 2004. "Winners and Losers Under Various Dual Majority Rules for the EU Council of Ministers," CEPR Discussion Papers 4450, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. František Turnovec, 1996. "Weights and votes in european union: extension and institutional reform," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 1996(2).
    9. Laruelle, Annick & Widgrén, Mika, 1997. "The Development of the Division of Power among the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament," CEPR Discussion Papers 1600, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Frantisek Turnovec, 2011. "Quota Manipulation And Fair Voting Rules In Committees," EcoMod2011 3186, EcoMod.
    2. Kóczy Á., László, 2011. "Lisszaboni kilátások
      [Lisbon prospects]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(12), pages 1045-1058.
    3. František Turnovec, 2012. "Quota Manipulation and Fair Voting Rules in Committees," Working Papers IES 2012/08, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Mar 2012.
    4. Matteo Migheli, 2016. "Measuring Representativeness in Different Electoral Systems, Using Italian and Dutch Data," Group Decision and Negotiation, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 723-748, July.
    5. Constantin Chiriac, 2008. "Economic Efficiency of EU Decision Making Process. Case Study: Measurement of Voting Power Indices of Romanian Parliament, 1996-2004," Theoretical and Applied Economics, Asociatia Generala a Economistilor din Romania - AGER, vol. 12(12(529)), pages 81-88, December.
    6. Kóczy, László Á., 2012. "Beyond Lisbon: Demographic trends and voting power in the European Union Council of Ministers," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 152-158.
    7. Zhi WANG & Shangjin WEI & Kei-Mu YI, "undated". "Value Chain in East Asia Production Network -An International Input-output Model Based Analysis," EcoMod2009 21500090, EcoMod.

    More about this item


    Co-decision procedure; committee system; consultation procedure; European Union decision making; Penrose-Banzhaf power indices; qualified majority; simple voting committee; weighted majority game;

    JEL classification:

    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism


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