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Luxemburg compromise


Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


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In the context of european integration , this agreement of January 30, 1966, ended the so-called “empty chair” crisis precipitated by the French president, de gaulle . He was perturbed by the growing “federalist” implications (see federalism [1]) of the movement towards closer cooperation among “ the six ,” and particularly by the previously-agreed shift towards qualified majority voting (QMV) in the Council of Ministers. Being anxious to retain the support of the French farmers who were the prime beneficiaries of subsidies from the common agricultural policy , de Gaulle instructed his own ministers to boycott all sessions of the Council held during the second half of 1965. This stance helped him to secure presidential re-election in December, and thus strengthened his hand against the rest of the Six. Early the following year the so-called Luxemburg compromise eased the impasse by allowing that, notwithstanding the formal requirement for QMV, decisions on matters of “very important national interest” could be put off until unanimity was achieved. For nearly two decades thereafter this essentially informal agreement effectively gave each member of the European Community a national veto over key issues. Ironically, it was thatcher's use of this to assert British interests, now mainly against French ones, when renegotiating the UK's budgetary contributions during 1982 that ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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