Uefa will use the same format to decide which 13 European nations qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as it employed for the 2010 tournament.
The same 53 European countries which played in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers will compete in nine groups, with the winners of each going to South America.
The eight best runners-up will be drawn in two-legged play-offs to determine the other four qualifying nations.
The preliminary draw for the 2014 World Cup is scheduled for 30 July in Brazil.
Europe will have its lowest share of teams at the World Cup since the inaugural event in 1930 when only four travelled to a 13-nation tournament in Uruguay.
At the 1994 World Cup in the United States, the last to feature 24 countries, 13 European teams played.
That number increased to 15 out of 32 teams four years later with 14 going through the qualifying process while France qualified automatically as hosts.
In 2002, defending champions France again qualified automatically, to ensure 15 European nations were present in Japan and South Korea.
However, Europe was reduced to 13 qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup with hosts Germany taking up a 14th spot.
Defending champions are no longer guaranteed a spot, so 2010 World Cup winners Spain will join 52 other nations who will be split into eight groups of six teams and one group of five.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the executive committee of European football's governing body.
Uefa has also approved recommendations on corruption and match fixing to "establish a network of integrity officers around Europe involving all national associations and on fostering collaboration with state authorities".
Meanwhile, Uefa secretary general Gianni Infantino reiterated that the Bosnian federation would be suspended from April if it did not cut its ethnic-based three-member presidency to one.
Uefa and world governing body Fifa have given the Bosnian federation until the end of March to do so or face suspension.