Poland EUI’ve had a go at Poland’s approach to the EU here previously and – as before – it cannot be defended. The dual majority system for Council voting, as proposed by the European Constitution, is the way to go to streamline decision making. However, thanks to some very geeky calculations, I have actually put together some proof that Poland’s position in the EU vis-a-vis Germany has actually been weakened as a result of enlargement from 25 to 27 Member States. Brace yourself –

This argument is based on the technicalities of Qualified Majority Voting, the process by which the EU takes most of its decisions. Two parts of QMV – the need to achieve 255 of 345 votes, and a simple majority of the Member States, are the basis for decisions normally. States can choose to invoke the third criterion – that the majority in favour represents 62% of the EU’s population when they choose to do so. The whole idea of this criterion was to grant extra voting weight to Germany when the Nice Treaty was negotiated.

In the period 2004-2006 (EU-25, but using the Nice rules) there were 10 combinations of countries where the 62% population criterion alone was enough to block a deal (more than 90 votes would otherwise needed). These were:
DE-FR-UK (87 votes)
DE-FR-IT (87 votes)
DE-FR-ES (85 votes)
DE-FR-PL (85 votes)
DE-UK-IT (87 votes)
DE-UK-ES (85 votes)
DE-UK-PL (85 votes)
DE-IT-ES (85 votes)
DE-IT-PL (85 votes)
FR-UK-IT (87 votes)

Now, with 27 member states, only 4 of these combinations remain (calculation from the BMWi’s online calculator):
DE-FR-UK (87 votes)
DE-FR-IT (87 votes)
DE-FR-ES (85 votes)
DE-UK-IT (87 votes)

There are 2 things to note about this. First of all, every population-only block now involves Germany (hence theoretically lessening the power of the UK-FR-IT alliance).

Second, none of the population-only blocks now involves Poland – possibly one of the reasons why the Polish government is so sour about Germany’s weight in the EU at the moment.

A number of new population block combinations have also come into existence, using small member states together with the 3 large ones. These alliances are:
DE-FR-UK-MT (90 votes)
DE-FR-IT-MT (90 votes)
DE-UK-IT-MT (90 votes)
DE-FR-ES-MT (88 votes)
” -” -” -LU (89 votes)
” -” -” -CY (89 votes)
” -” -” -EE (89 votes)
” -” -” -SI (89 votes)
” -” -” -LV (89 votes)

Notably DE-FR-PL-LV is still 2 million people short of being a blocking minority on the population criterion.

So – Poland – get producing some kids and you can improve your power in the EU!

One Comment

  1. sebastian

    Sehr gut!
    This is brilliant.

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