17 Colum. J. Eur. L. 151 (2010)
Bart M.J. Szewczyk, Senior Associate at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP in Washington, D.C., adjunct professor of international law at George Washington University Law School, Member of the Executive Council at the American Society of International Law, fellow at the Truman National Security Project, member of the European Society of International Law, and stylistic editor of the Polish Yearbook of International Law.
The European Union, established with the Treaty of Maastricht and expanded through three subsequent treaties, has been granted new powers across extensive policy areas. Most importantly, the consolidation of Qualified Majority Voting (“QMV”) in the Council of Ministers as the rule of decision-making-applied to over ninety percent of Council decisions between 2006 and 2010 and replacing the prior predominance of unanimous state consent under the European Communities (“EC”)-has enabled E. U. lawmaking against a national government’s will and dissent. With the waning into desuetude of the Luxembourg Compromise, under which states in the EC maintained a defacto veto in cases of vital national interests, QMV has thus given the E. U. an autonomous source of power, i.e., not contingent on the consent of each E. U. national democracy. As a union of twenty-seven (or more, in the future) heterogeneous states, the E. U. cannot operate on the basis of consensus-based decision-making that guided the relatively homogenous EC, yet it lacks a theory that legitimates QMV decisions in an empirically realistic and normatively attractive manner.