Key Points of the Treaty of Nice

Details of the Treaty of Nice adopted by European Union leaders Dec. 11, 2000 as a blueprint for running a revamped EU as it moves to bring in up to 12 new members over the next few years. 

More Majority Voting 

The overwhelming majority of EU decisions are already taken by majority voting. More areas were added to the list, such as picking the EU's chief executive, control of the EU budget, trade in financial services and — in 2007 — the distribution of EU aid to poor regions. 

However the leaders agreed to retain unanimous voting on taxation, social security, most immigration policies and trade in audiovisual products. 

Reallocating Votes 

The numbers of votes each nation gets in the Union's policy-setting councils were rebalanced. 

Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy get 29 each, up from 10; Spain gets 27 (from eight); the Netherlands, 13 (from five); Belgium, 12 (from five); Greece, 12 (from five), Portugal 12 (from five), Sweden 10 (from four), Austria 10 (from four), Denmark seven (from three), Finland seven (from three), Ireland seven (from three), Luxembourg four (from two). 

For the candidates, Poland gets 27 votes, Romania 14, Czech Republic 12, Hungary 12, Bulgaria 10, Slovakia seven, Lithuania seven, Latvia four, Slovenia four, Estonia four, Cyprus four, Malta three. 

A passing majority would be achieved when the number of votes in favor is at least 255 out of the total of 345 and when those countries account for 62 percent of the EU population. 

Trimming the European Commission 

The EU executive has 20 members: two each from Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The others have one each. The big members will give up their second commissioner in 2005. After that, a rotation system may be used to keep the panel to under 27 members as newcomers join the Union. 

A More 'Flexible' Union 

A clause will make it easier for some countries to opt out of EU policies they don't like, while more enthusiastic nations move ahead. 

The European Parliament 

Currently 626 members, it will rise to 738 members when all 12 of the nations in membership negotiations join. 

The Next Step 

The EU nations plan to launch another round of reform talks in 2004.