Future Prospects of EU Legislation in a Post-Brexit Council

Future Prospects of EU Legislation in a Post-Brexit Council
2020-02-27 KKI
Analysis by Attila Kovács and Levente Kocsis

With the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, the eventual change in the distribution of power with regards to the Council of the European Union and its analysis gains ever more importance. However, the effects of the UK’s departure in case of qualified majority votes are ambiguous. On the one hand, Member States gain weight due to the adjustment of the populationbased vote weights. This weight increase solely depends on the Member States’ population, thus the Member States with already high population (and so vote weight) gain more, while smaller countries gain less. On the other, conditional on the degree of matching policy preferences with the United Kingdom, Member States might lose average weight on their favoured side, due to missing out on the backing votes of Britain.

This study shows that every Member State would gain average vote weight backing their preferred outcome should the events from 2010 to 2019 have happened without the participation of the UK. However, once cases of opposition – abstentions or votes against during qualified majority votes – are taken, the results reveal that the average vote weight backing Member States’ unfavourable view decreases apart from a few exceptions. Thus, the results suggest that legislation might be subject to fewer hindrances, working out blocking coalitions could very well get significantly more difficult.

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