Glossary of summaries

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The term ‘unanimity’ relates to the requirement for all EU countries when meeting within the Council to be in agreement before a proposal can be adopted.

The Single European Act, signed in 1987 amended the Treaty of Rome to add new momentum to European integration and to complete the internal market. It reduced the number of policy areas for which unanimity was required in order to adopt legislation.

The latest amendment to the treaties, the Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in 2009, increased the number of areas where qualified majority voting in the Council applies.

Nevertheless, a limited number of policies judged to be sensitive remain subject to unanimity voting: taxation, social security or social protection, the accession of new countries to the EU, foreign and common defence policy and operational police cooperation between EU countries.