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Reinforced qualified majority

When the Council acts without a Commission proposal or one from the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (i.e. in the fields of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters), the qualified majority must include at least two-thirds of EU countries.

The provisions of the Lisbon Treaty regarding qualified majority voting entered into force on 1 November 2014. The reinforced qualified majority therefore comprises at least 72% of the members of the Council representing 65% of the EU's population.

This provision conveys the idea that the Commission safeguards the general interest.   When the Council takes a decision not drawn upon a Commission proposal, the general interest is less assured. It is therefore necessary to gather together a larger majority than usual in favour of such a proposal.