Today sees the second meeting of the “Ministerial Green Growth Group” in the European Parliament.
The session (final agenda) comes between the environment and energy Council meetings today and tomorrow, taking place over on the other side of the Maalbeek valley.
Comprising “like-minded” ministers from 15 different Council delegations*, the group seeks “to explore, promote and pursue the economic opportunities that EU low-carbon ambition can offer Europe.”
During the first meeting last October, I asked UK minister Ed Davey if the group’s then thirteen members yielded a qualified majority, thus enabling the Council to make things happen.
Davey declined to answer directly my question, saying it was too early to discuss voting and that the UK hoped first for a consensus. He also called on businesses to lobby sceptical countries.
Five months later and the policy debate still stalled, the question of using qualified majority voting as a strategy to make progress has not gone away.
However a quick vote count of the now 15 supporters reveals that, even though the 15 supportive delegations includes five of the six largest member states, all holding 29 votes, the group as a whole still holds only 233 votes, 27 votes short of a 260-vote qualified majority.
The map below is also revealing as to where support is and isn’t present.
Recruiting e.g. Austria and Greece to the group seems an essential step towards a reliable qualified majority. But this would only add 22 votes, one short of QMV. Latvia (4 votes) or Croatia (7 votes) in addition would swing it.
The reluctant Visegrad-Four-Plus-Two (PL, CZ, SK, HU, BG, RO) hold only 82 votes, not enough to form a blocking majority of 92 votes if or when voting time comes.
-o0o-* Group membership: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden & the United Kingdom