Member states’ opposition in the Council of the European Union and its impacts on the implementation of directives

Brigitte Pircher


In the Council of the European Union (EU), a qualified majority is mostly required to adopt legislative acts. Based on this majority rule, individual member states can be outvoted and are subsequently obliged to implement the law. This article analyses whether opposition in the Council of the EU affects the transposition of directives into national law by using the example of Austria from 2000 to 2008. The results demonstrate that domestic factors, rather than a negative political attitude, were responsible for delays and procedures when implementing previously contested directives. However, the effects of opposition in the Council on implementation were particularly apparent in cases where there was a high degree of misfit between EU provisions and the domestic legal structure.


European Union; Council of the EU; oppositional voting behaviour; Austria; implementation of directives; legal misfit


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