HC Deb 16 December 1994 vol 251 cc856-7W
Mr. Michael Spicer

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what effect the decision in the Norwegian referendum had on the agreement on qualified majority voting in the European Council of Ministers negotiated at Corfu on the understanding that European Union membership would rise to 16 countries.

Mr. David Davis

Article 2(2) of the accession treaty for Sweden, Finland, Austria and Norway provides for the Council to make the necessary amendments to the treaty to take account of non-accession of one of the applicants. A draft Council decision to take account of Norwegian non-accession had been submitted to the European Select Committees of both Houses for scrutiny. This amends the qualified majority voting articles of the treaty to remove Norway's allocation of three votes, and amend the qualified majority threshold from 64 to 62. A separate Council decision, a draft of which has also been submitted to the Select Committees, will amend the Ioannina decision to apply to dissenting minorities of between 23 and 25 votes. The Council will make these decisions on 1 January 1995.