How Brexit Affects European Union Power Distribution
16 Pages Posted: 21 May 2016
Date Written: May 18, 2016
The possible exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union will have profound economic and political effects. Here we look at a particular aspect, the power distribution in the Council of the European Union. Since the Lisbon treaty the exit does not require new negotiations as the success of a voting initiative only depends on the number and total population of the supporting member states. Using the Shapley-Shubik power index we calculate the member states' powers with and without the United Kingdom and update earlier power forecasts using the Eurostat's latest population projections. There is a remarkably sharp relation between population size and the change in power: Brexit increases the largest members', while decreases the smallest ones' powers.
Keywords: European Union, Council of the European Union, qualified majority voting, power index, a priori voting power, demographics
JEL Classification: C71, D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation