Abstention, constructive (positive abstention)

Under the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), constructive abstention means that a Member State abstains on a vote in Council without such abstention blocking a unanimous decision.
The Member State in question is not obliged to apply the decision but must accept that it commits the Union. The Member State must then refrain from any action that might conflict with Union action based on that decision.

Assent procedure

The assent procedure involves the Council obtaining the European Parliament's assent before certain important decisions can be taken. Parliament may accept or reject a proposal but cannot amend it.
The assent procedure mainly concerns the accession of new Member States and certain international agreements. It is also required for citizenship, the specific tasks of the European Central Bank, amendments to the Statutes of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank, the Structural and Cohesion Funds and the uniform procedure for elections to the European Parliament.
Since the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam, Parliament's assent is also required in the event of sanctions being imposed on a Member State for a serious and persistent breach of fundamental rights.


Council of the European Union
European Parliament