Michel Le Breton, Maria Montero, and Vera Zaporozhets, Voting Power in the EU Council of Ministers and Fair Decision Making in Distributive Politics, Mathematical Social Sciences, vol. 63, 2012, pp. 159–173.


We analyze and evaluate the di¤erent decision rules describing the Council of Ministers of the EU starting from 1958 up to now. Most of the existing studies use the Banzhaf index (for binary voting) or the Shapley-Shubik index (for distributive politics). We argue in favor of the nucleolus as a power measure in distributive situations and an alternative to the Shapley-Shubik index. We then calculate the nucleolus and compare the results of our calculations with the conventional measures. In the second part, we analyze the power of the European citizens as measured by the nucleolus under the egalitarian criterion proposed by Felsenthal and Machover (1998), and characterize the first best situation. Based on these results we propose a methodology for the de sign of the optimal (fair) decision rules. We perform the optimization exercise for the earlier stages of the EU within a restricted domain of voting rules, and conclude that Germany should receive more than the other three large countries under the optimal voting rule.