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European Parliament votes to abolish member states’ veto

European Parliament Strasbourg Hemicycle Diliff
The European Parliament

The European Parliament voted in favour of a bill to implement a number of reforms to the bloc’s treaties, including an almost absolute abolition of the principle of unanimity, in other words, member states’ veto power.

The vote passed with a razor-thin majority of 291 votes in favour to 274 against, with 44 abstentions.

Cypriot members of the European Parliament were also split on the matter. Giorgos Georgiou and Niyazi Kizilyurek of Akel both voted against, while Disy’s Loukas Fourlas and Eleni Stavrou abstained, as did Demetris Papadakis of Edek.

The bill includes proposals for 267 changes to the Maastricht Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty, two of the foundational documents of the European Union.

The main proposed changes include the abolition of the principle of unanimity in a total of 65 areas of law, as well as transferring competencies from the member states to the European Union.

These include the transfer of inclusive competency on the matters of environmental protection and biodiversity, meaning that law pertaining to those matters would be entirely set at the European level.

In addition, the shared competencies would be expanded to seven new areas, those being foreign and security policy, border protection, public health, civil defence, industry, and education.

Elsewhere, the European Commission would be reduced from its current size of 27 people down to 15, meaning that not every member state would have its own commissioner. At the same time, the competencies of the commission would be expanded.

Other stipulations would include the mandatory adoption of the Euro for all member states. Cyprus adopted the Euro in 2008, four years after joining the bloc, but six member states – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Sweden – use other currencies.

In addition, the bill foresees a simplification of the procedure for suspending the rights of member states which violate “European Union values”, such as the rule of law, democracy, freedom, human rights, and equality.

With the bill having passed through the European Parliament, the Spanish Presidency of the European Council has agreed to table the proposals at the next European Council meeting, which is set to take place in December.

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