The voting systems in the Council of the EU and the Bundesrat – What do they tell us about European Federalism?

Jacek Czaputowicz 1  and Marcin Kleinowski 2
  • 1 European Studies unit at the Institute of European Studies, Faculty of Political Sciences and International Studies, University of Warsaw, , Warsaw, Poland
  • 2 Faculty of Political Sciences and International Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, , Toruń, Poland


The Treaty of Lisbon introduced a new system of weighted votes in the Council, which radically departs from the principles on which the distribution of votes between the Member States of the EU was based for more than half a century. At the same time, the system of double majority is fundamentally different from the assumptions on which voting systems in federal states are based, including in the Bundesrat. Systems used in federal states are usually based on a compromise between the equality of states, and the equality of citizens. Consequently, in the Nice system, smaller Member States in the EU had relatively greater power compared to their populations than smaller federal units in the German Bundesrat. The results presented in this paper indicate that the Lisbon system of voting in the Council differs significantly from voting systems in federal states.

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