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Designing the voting system for the Council of the European Union

Leech, Dennis (2002) Designing the voting system for the Council of the European Union. Public Choice, 113 (3-4). 437 -464. ISSN 1573-7101

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Abstract

This paper examines the system of Qualified Majority Voting, used by the Council of the European Union, from the perspective of enlargement of the Union. It uses an approach based on power indices due to Penrose, Banzhaf and Coleman to make two analyses: (1) the question of the voting power of member countries from the point of view of fairness, and (2) the question of how the threshold number of votes required for QMV should be determined. It studies two scenarios for change from 2005 onwards envisaged by the Nice Treaty: (1) no enlargement, the EU comprising 15 member countries, and (2) full enlargement to 27 members by the accession of all the present twelve candidates. The proposal is made that fair weights be determined algorithmically as a technical or routine matter as the membership changes. The analysis of how the threshold affects power shows the trade-offs that countries face between their blocking power and the power of the Council to act. The main findings are: (1) that the weights laid down in the Nice Treaty are close to being fair, the only significant discrepancies being the under-representation of Germany and Romania, and the over-representation of Spain and Poland; (2) the threshold required for a decision is set too high for the Council to be an effective decision making body.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://springerlink.metapress.com/openurl.asp?genr...
Additional Information: Published 2002 © Springer. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL (<http://eprints.lse.ac.uk>) of the LSE Research Online website.
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2006
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/649/

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