Nine EU countries team up to reform foreign policy voting rules

A group of nine EU countries, including Belgium, has joined forces to reform the current unanimous voting rules for foreign and security policy decisions, which are often subject to one member state's veto.

The Group of Friends on Qualified Majority Voting consists of Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Spain, and is open to other countries wishing to join.

"Better decision-making is essential to make the EU fit for the future"

"EU foreign policy needs adapted processes and procedures in order to strengthen the EU as a foreign policy actor," the nine countries wrote in a short statement released Thursday morning. "Better decision-making is also essential to make the EU fit for the future."

The participating member states argue that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the geopolitical shifts it has caused are reason enough to launch the review and gradually move from unanimity to qualified majority voting. This qualified majority should apply to most EU policies, such as climate change, digital regulation, the single market and migration.

Speed up and reform decision-making

The joint mission of the nine members is to speed up and reform decision-making "in a pragmatic way, focusing on concrete, practical steps" within the framework of the EU treaties. The countries pledge to share their future deliberations "transparently" with other member states and to coordinate their work with EU institutions.

The support of Germany and France, the bloc's two largest and most influential economies, gives the initiative a boost in credibility and visibility. However, the nine states cannot achieve a qualified majority. That requires 15 member states representing at least 65 per cent of the EU's total population.





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