Methods employed for the adoption of legislative acts

There are several adoption methods applied to legislative acts..

Simple Majority

A simple majority vote means that the decision that is taken is the one that wins the most votes.
This voting rule is applicable for example during a first reading in European Parliament, as part of the codecision procedure.

Absolute Majority

To win during an absolute majority vote at least half of the votes of the total possible must be won plus one.
In the European Parliament the absolute majority is now 384 with 766 MEPs. In a European Parliament that will comprise 751 MEPs after the 2014 elections, the absolute majority wil be 376. This applies during the second reading in Parliament if the Assembly want so to amend or reject the position adopted by the Council.
This notably applies on second reading as part of the codecision procedure.

Qualified Majority

In the Council of Ministers each country has a weighting ie a specific number of votes according to its demographic weight.

Weighting per country

CountryNumber of votes
Germany29
Austria10
Belgium12
Bulgaria10
Cyprus4
Croatia7
Denmark7
Spain27
Estonia4
Finland7
France29
Greece12
Hungary12
Ireland7
Italy29
Latvia4
Lithuania 7
Luxembourg4
Malta3
Netherlands13
Poland27
Portugal12
Czech Republic12
Romania14
United Kingdom29
Slovakia7
Slovenia4
Sweden10
For a decision to be adopted it must win:
– 255 votes out of 345;
– a favourable vote on the part of the majority of the Member States ie at least 14 countries;
A Member State can ask for the qualified majority to correspond with at least 62% of the European Union’s total population.
This weighting system of votes will remain in force until November 1st 2014. As of November 1st 2014, the new double majority rule will enter into force, but until 31st March 2017 any Member State will be able to demand that the vote be undertaken according to the rules in force before 2014, in line with the protocol on transitory measures. Double majority rules: decisions taken by 55% of the Member States representing 65% of the Union’s population. Finally according to the Ioannina Compromise 25% of the States ie 7 countries or the States representing 19% of the population will be able to counter a decision being taken by the qualified majority within a reasonable lapse of time.
The perimeter of the qualified majority extends to new areas: 44 new articles are now concerned which makes a total of 113 articles.

Unanimity

In certain sensitive areas such as taxation, social security, foreign policy or common defence the Council of Ministers continues to apply the unanimous voting method.