Should the EU Make Foreign Policy Decisions by Majority Voting?

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Publication Date May 2019
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Russian aggression, Chinese assertiveness and the fraying transatlantic alliance threaten the EU’s interests in the world. Public opinion across the continent is in favour of a stronger common foreign policy. Divisions within the EU, however, often prevent effective common action, as foreign policy decisions usually require unanimity. In response, the European Commission proposes to extend Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) to three policy fields within the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP): sanctions, human rights positions and civilian missions. For a vote to pass under QMV, it requires 55 per cent of member-states representing at least 65 per cent of the total EU population to be in favour of a proposal in the Council. The Commission argues that these reforms would not require changes to the EU treaties.

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