Assent procedure

European Parliament, Strasbourg (Photo: European Parliament)
The EU Parliament has to approve important international treaties and the enlargement of the EU in the so-called assent procedure.
See Agreements with third countries and Association agreements.

The accession of new Member States requires that an absolute majority of European Parliament members - 314 of 626 - must vote in favour, otherwise the proposal will be rejected.
This was introduced with the Single European Act in 1987.
MEPs can therefore vote against enlargement in two different ways: by voting “No” or by abstaining.

The future

The EU Parliament wants the assent procedure to also be applied to Treaty changes.