Simple question, I am looking for the law citation.

  • Any previous research by the OP would have shown: a): that the European Council is composed mainly of the national leaders (heads of state [4] or government [23]) of the 27 member states ; b): a veto power, per se, doesn't exist (and where, then in the Council of Ministers). Vote to close due to lack of research. Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 4:51
  • 3
    I don't see a problem with the question. There is an effective veto power where the treaties require unanimity in the Council, which is the case for certain enumerated decisions but not others.
    – terps8
    Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 7:28
  • 1
    @terps8 indeed, and a responsive answer only has to point out those decisions that must be unanimous, citing the relevant treaty provisions.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 7:52
  • I fail to see how this is simple - the matter is very complex.
    – Trish
    Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 9:03
  • @MarkJohnson Any reasonable person aware a little of the EU's governance knows how the European Council works. That was not the question. The citations were the question. Veto power does exist, since unanimity is required where the council is to effectively ratify or assent to legislation passed by the Parliament. And I did look for it, couldn't find the specific EU law.
    – kisspuska
    Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 10:30

1 Answer 1


What TFEU or other EU law provision provides for the veto power of a head of state in the European Council?


  • European Council
    • is composed mainly of the national leaders (heads of state [4] or government [23]) of the 27 member states.

    The European Council’s role is to provide the impetus, general political directions and priorities for the EU’s development (Article 15 of the Treaty on European Union — TEU), ...
    It does not carry out any legislative function. However, it defines the strategic guidelines for legislative and operational planning within the area of freedom, security and justice (Article 68 TFEU).

  • Council of the European Union (simply called ‘the Council’)
    • sometimes also called: Council of Ministers

    The Council meets in 10 configurations, bringing together the relevant ministers from the Member States
    The Council, together with the European Parliament, carries out legislative and budgetary functions. It is also the lead institution for decision-making on the common foreign and security policy (CFSP). Member States coordinate their economic policies within the Council.

    • when they can't agree, then it is often referred to the European Council
  • Qualified majority

Under the ordinary legislative procedure, the Council acts by Qualified majority, in codecision with the Parliament.

  • Unanimity
    • is the term that is used (not veto)

    Unanimity, where all EU Member States have to agree, is one of the voting rules applicable to the Council. The Council has to vote unanimously on a number of policy areas which the Member States consider to be sensitive.
    The policy areas where the Council acts unanimously are exhaustively listed by the Treaties.

For both the ‘the Council' and the 'European Council', Qualified majority is the default and Unanimity the exception.

The cases of Unanimity are mostly meantioned (using that term) within an Article sub-paragraph and lists the sub-paragraphs that are effected.

A major exception is Article 238(2), where only Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is listed.

I have added a link of those cases that I could find below.

Assume the list is not compleate.




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