Glossary of summaries

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Abstention, constructive (positive abstention)

As a general rule, all decisions taken with respect to the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy are adopted unanimously. However, in certain cases, an EU country can choose to abstain from voting on a particular action without blocking it. This could arise, for example, where the EU proposes to condemn the actions of a non-EU country.

Under Article 31 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the country that constructively abstains may qualify its abstention by making a formal declaration. In that case, it shall not be obliged to apply this decision, but shall accept that the decision commits the EU.