Qualified majority voting

The Council of Ministers makes most pieces of legislation on the basis of "qualified majority voting" (so-called 'weighted voting'). The system is designed as follows: each Member State is allocated a specified number of votes, based on the size of its population. Thus, the states with the largest population – France, Germany, Italy and the UK – each have 29 votes. The smallest member, Malta, has 3 votes.

A qualified majority is reached when a majority of Member States (minimum of 232 votes, out of a total of 321), are in favour of a proposal. It is also possible for a Member State to request confirmation that the votes in favour of a measure represent at least 62% of the population of the European Union.

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