The European Parliament Votes in Favor of Abandoning Member States’ Veto Right

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Wednesday that includes several proposals for EU reform, one of which involves making more decisions in the Council through qualified majority voting rather than unanimity, as is currently practiced. According to a statement from the European Parliament, these proposals were made following the Conference on the Future of Europe, ‘in a context characterized by unprecedented challenges and multiple crises.’

One of these crises is related to Romania, as some states as the Netherlands or Austria have vetoed Romania’s and Bulgaria’s Schengen accession, on the same “veto right” principle.

The EU legislature states that these reforms ‘aim to strengthen the Union’s capacity to act and give more weight to the opinions of citizens in the decision-making process.’

Among the proposals is the establishment of a system that ‘better reflects a bicameral concept and reduces blockages in the Council by making more decisions through qualified majority voting and the ordinary legislative procedure.’

Essentially, this entails the elimination of the veto right by member states in certain essential areas such as defense and foreign policy. Donald Tusk, one of the most influential European politicians, had announced a day earlier that he would not support such a measure. However, the report on which the proposal was based was approved Wednesday evening with 305 votes in favor, 276 against, and 29 abstentions. The accompanying resolution was adopted with 291 votes in favor, 274 against, and 44 abstentions.

The Spanish Presidency of the EU Council will present these proposals to the European Council in December. However, abandoning unanimous decision-making on significant matters is largely considered doomed to failure, as similar past initiatives met the same fate.

austriaEU Councileu reformeuropean parliamentMember Statesqualified majorityresolutionRomaniaSchengenunanimityveto
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