Alphabetical index


Abstention, constructive (positive abstention)

Constructive abstention is the idea of allowing a Member State to abstain on a vote in Council under the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), without blocking a unanimous decision.

This option was introduced by the Treaty of Amsterdam. Article 31 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) provides that if abstention is accompanied by a formal declaration, the Member State in question is not obliged to apply the decision but must accept that it commits the Union. The Member State must then refrain from any action that might conflict with Union action based on that decision.

In accordance with Article 31 of the TEU, the decision cannot be adopted if the members of the Council attaching such a declaration to their abstention represent at least one third of the Member States comprising at least one third of the population.


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