Effects of the new vote weighting system at EU Council of Ministers on structural fond resources for new members
At the recent Nice summit, the EU council of ministers decided on institutional adjustments for the European Union. Such reforms are of particular importance for an enlarged European Union in which up to 27 new members could participate. Amongst the reforms, two decisive changes concern the distribution of votes in an enlarged council and additional conditions which will be attached to majority decisions. This redistribution of power within the council will effect in particular economic issues, as e.g. the size and distribution of structural funds budgets to be expected upon admittance as EU-member states. Such effects can be estimated by use of models of probability of coalition-building. The model used here predicts that the budget for structural funds for the ten accession countries will be lower than would have been under the old voting power regime. This highlights that the accession group in Central East Europe lost relative voting power via coalitions in comparison to the voting regime prior to Nice. Solely Poland enjoyed an increase in voting power which also suggests an increase in budgets Poland can now expect to receive in the framework of EU structural funds policy.