|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.1, 4.1.01, p1|
GOVERNMENTS are expected to agree last-minute changes to the Nice Treaty next week, ending bitter divisions over how decisions will be made after the Union enlarges.
Diplomats predict that Finland, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria will drop their opposition to a new text hammered out in two long meetings of EU ambassadors.
The version agreed in Nice had to be re-examined because a simple mathematical problem: the percentage of votes in the Council of Ministers required to pass new laws did not match the exact number of votes needed.
Diplomats say the new version favours small and medium-sized countries such as Finland and Belgium, which argue that it should not become substantially harder to take decisions when the Union admits its new members.
Under the compromise, the number of votes required to approve new laws in a Union of 15 countries is reduced from 170 to 169 - 71.4% of all votes compared to 72.6% at present. Once the EU takes in the first of 12 applicants, the percentage will rise to 73.4%, although the precise number of votes will have to be agreed during entry negotiations with candidates.
But when the Union becomes a 27-member club, the number of votes required to block new laws will be set at 91, meaning 73.9% of votes will be needed to approve proposals.
Governments are expected to agree last-minute changes to the Nice Treaty, ending bitter divisions over how decisions will be made after the Union enlarges.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|
|Countries / Regions||Europe|