Qualified Majority

A qualified majority (abbr. QM) is the number of votes required in the Council for a decision to be adopted (don’t forget that this is only one step of the EU legislative process). You might have heard that the EU is not democratic and that member states have no powers, so check this out:

The first condition for a proposal to be adopted by the Council is that the countries in favor represent at least 65 % of the total EU population. The second condition depends on who made the proposal:

If the proposal is not made by the Commission or the High Representative, a QM is reached if 72 % of EU country vote in favour (=19 countries out of 27).

If the proposal is made by the Commission or the High Representative, things are a bit more relaxed (they assume there have been already enough negotiations). In that case a QM is reached if 55 % of EU countries vote in favour (=15 countries out of 27).

In both cases, decisions represent way more than half of the Union’s population. The EU is hyper-democratic, maybe too much, and it even respects the will of smaller countries: just think that these countries alone could theoretically approve decisions from the Commission (in brackets the million of inhabitants):

Malta (0.4), Luxembourg (0.6), Estonia (1.3), Latvia (1.9), Lithuania (2.0), Slovenia (2.0), Croatia (4.1), Ireland (5.0), Slovakia (5.5), Finland (5.5), Denmark (5.8), Bulgaria (7.0), Austria (9.0), Hungary (9.7), Sweden (10.0)

With the help of Portugal (10.2), Greece (10.4), Czech Republic (10.7) and Belgium (11.6) they could approve even decisions not coming from the Commission.