Get rid of EU unanimity voting? No way, member states insist

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen criticized unanimity voting during a citizens assembly, suggesting it hinders progress. Member states, including Poland, oppose her stance, fearing a shift could divert focus from critical issues and geopolitical challenges. This was reiterated in a joint response by multiple countries, emphasizing they do not support hasty changes to the current system.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has criticised unanimity voting, causing a stir among member states.

Speaking during the EU citizens’ assembly, the Conference on the Future of Europe (9 May 2022), von der Leyen said: ‘I have always argued that unanimity voting in some key areas simply no longer makes sense if we want to be able to move faster.’

While she did not mention any ongoing issue, it is believed that her comments were triggered by the ongoing disagreement among EU member states over the implementation of the OECD’s minimum global tax rules. Poland is the only remaining country to block the proposed directive implementing Pillar Two of the tax rules.

Member states reacted immediately in a published non-paper, expressing their opposition to any change. ‘While we do not exclude any options at this stage, we do not support unconsidered and premature attempts to launch a process towards Treaty change. This would entail a serious risk of drawing political energy away from the important tasks of finding solutions to the questions to which our citizens expect answers and handling the urgent geopolitical challenges facing Europe.’

The document was endorsed by Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Sweden.