The European Union has a legislation that embodies a culture requiring imperative consensus among an exponentially growing number of member states given veto powers they mostly use to serve their different interests in integrationto the European Union not forgetting partisanCommission initiatives. Decision making in the EU only occurs from the presence of a unified agreement between numerous institutions and active players who each play a specific role towards the viability of the decision acceptance. According to political scientist George Tsebelis(Lelieveldt&Sebastiaan 241), decision-making is an European Union depends on the concession of a number of veto players who he articulates to exist in two groups, namely, institutional veto players and partisan veto players. Institutional veto players refers to the predefined institutions that have the mandate ofdeciding on whether to approve a presented proposal while partisan veto players describes parties within the deciding institutions that have the responsibility of determining the adoption of a proposal(Lelieveldt&Sebastiaan 241).By combining the three institutional veto powers namely, the Commission that governs production of proposals, the Council and the European Parliament that has the power to refute a proposal; it is imperatively clear that veto power play a major role to decision making of the European Union. The partisan veto power revolves around the Commission members’ agreement to a proposalbefore releasing itfor discussion(Lelieveldt&Sebastiaan 241).The decision of the Council depends not on the majority in number of proponents to a proposal but depends on the establishment of the qualified majority. This means that the majority are a reference of their argument towards a proposal essentially denoting that a minority number of member states with a credible argument have the power to reject a proposal from adoption. The increase in the number of veto players therefore makes decision making in the European Union very difficult considering the hoops the proposal has to overcome before it can be assented.
The treaty of Nice plays a significant role to the ability of the European Union make decisions by implementing considerable changes from the prior Treaty of Rome and Maastricht Treaty essentially to allow for further expansion of Europe to the east (Tsebelis et.al 302). The Treaty of Nice after its signing in 2001, led to the introduction of a triple majority requirement of council decisions before approval of a proposal. Council decisions after the treaty retained the aspect of a qualified majority but with a number higher than the prior numberto reach an aggregate 62% of all member states of the European Union(Tsebelis et.al 284). However, a qualified minority have the power to disapprove a proposal irrespective of a majority member state advocating for the proposal(Lelieveldt&Sebastiaan 242). Due to the influx in the number of majorities required in the council for decision making to take place, actors focus not in the majority but rather concentrate on the blocking minorities since the minority possesses the capability to nullify a proposal. Overcoming the minority figuratively clears the path for adaptation of the proposal. This is applies mostly to history making decisions that use high politics to actuate vital proposals such as amendment of treaties. The European commission treaties form the constitution of the member states and any change to such treaties requires the input of all member states. Through negotiations,member states achieve a common ground(Lelieveldt&Sebastiaan 231).
The presence of a large number of veto players in the European Union involved in decision-making has compelled institutions to apply different tactics that ensure that proposals are reasonable and credible before they are accepted or endorsed. The Commission, which is the first institution that receives any proposal, has the responsibility of critically analyzing a proposal before passing it to the Council and European Parliament(Lelieveldt&Sebastiaan 240). However, once a proposal has reached the European Parliament, if they propose amendment to the suggestions presented by the Commission, they must consider in the same respect all aspects justifying the amendments such as the proposal acceptability by the Commission after the amendment(Lelieveldt&Sebastiaan 238). This is achievedby not only reviewing the European Parliament majority party group but also applying the same aspect of qualified majority present in the Council member states. This interaction between institutionsoperates on vibrant interaction of formal procedures and actual processes especially in the financial discourses. A perfect example is the negotiation of the European Council to adopting a Financial Perspective for all member states. The Financial Perspective firstly needed approval from two institutions, namely the Council of Ministers and the European parliament(Lelieveldt&Sebastiaan239). The European parliament after a majority vote had rejected the proposal from the Council of Minister before finally accepted it after the Council implemented the changes to the proposal.
A culture of consensus and compromise has arisen from the presence of a large number of veto players in the European Union. Veto power has made it that actors and institutions responsible for decision making have the power to approve and reject any proposal meaning that in any case the two parties work in unison,there is no chance for approval of any proposals(Lelieveldt&Sebastiaan 240). Actors and institutions use this aspect to conduct political ploys by threatening to reject proposals to create room for negotiations with the targeted parties after which they obtain compromise in the defining terms. This aspect of the European Union constitutional structure has led to adoption of most proposals of the Commissions. The case of Sweden is a perfect example for this case. After its integration into the European Union in 1995, it dramatically garnered an aggregate 30 rejections in votes against the Council. Since the European Union works in consensus, Sweden rejection to Council proposals led to its isolation by other member states in turn reducing the states influence in negotiating with the other states(Lelieveldt&Sebastiaan 243). The resultant from expelling Sweden from formulation of proposals consequently led to a reduction in the number of rejections to a conceivable number.
Lelieveldt, Herman, and SebastiaanPrincen.The Politics of the European Union. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2011. Print.
Tsebelis, George, and Xenophon Yataganas. “Veto Players And Decision-Making In The EU After Nice: Policy Stability And Bureaucratic/Judicial Discretion.” Journal Of Common Market Studies 40.2 (2002): 283-307. Web. 4 Dec. 2013.