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Voting in the Councils: A Compromise, No Revolution

Article 4 EU; 250 EC; I-20(4) and I-22.3, I-24, et al. Draft Convention

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 October 2004


The European Council actually, as a rule, takes decisions by consensus, as its major function is to bring a primary political impetus into the integration process through ‘conclusions’, ‘principles’, ‘guidelines’, and ‘joint strategies’ or ‘recommendations’ not having the force of a legal act. This is a customary rule; it is not stipulated in Article 4 EU. Consensus may be regarded as a ‘soft’ unanimity, reached without voting, in a silent way (no opposing statements), and allowing – within the framework of the common position – some divergences by individual Member States.

© T.M.C. Asser Press 2005

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