What is qualified majority voting?
Qualified majority voting (QMV) is a mechanism used within the European Council and Council of the EU to take decisions without the need for unanimity but which go beyond a simple majority of members. There are two forms of qualified majority: standard and reinforced. For the former, decisions are adopted if at least 55% of member states – meaning 15 out of 27 – representing at least 65% of the EU population, approve. For the latter, at least 72% of member states must approve, representing the same proportion of the EU population. Abstention counts as a vote against.
A standard qualified majority is the ordinary procedure used for most EU legislation, whereas a reinforced qualified majority is used if the Council is acting on proposal that has not come from the Commission or High Representative for Foreign Affairs, such as when electing key posts like the European Central Bank president and High Representative.