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Common rules to calculate the resident population of an EU member state

A draft single set of rules to govern how EU member states collect and compile EU population data was approved by Parliament on Thursday. Consistent EU-wide data are needed inter alia to calculate qualified majority voting rights in the Council of Ministers and national entitlements to some EU funding. The rules will now be fine-tuned in informal talks with the Council.

The new rules would require EU member states to supply the European Commission with data on the "usually resident" population, i.e. people who have been living in a member state of residence for at least one year, or who arrived there intending to stay for at least one year. The Commission aims to ensure that each resident is only counted once.

The proposal lays down common rules to enable member states to gather consistently high-quality population data for use in defining EU policies, calculating qualified majority voting rights in the Council and establishing entitlements to some EU funding. Today, member states each have their own methods of defining and compiling demographic data and statistics and communicating this information to the Commission.

Rapporteur Csaba Sógor (EPP, RO) voted against the adopted text on the grounds that they would penalise EU countries that have many nationals living abroad. An amendment to ensure that such data would not be used to calculate qualified majority voting rights in the Council, was rejected.

Review clause

The Commission should report on the impact of these rules every five years, to Parliament and the Council, adds the text.

Next steps

Although Parliament approved the amended proposal, the vote on the legislative resolution laying down the rules was postponed, at the request of Employment and Social Affairs Committee Chair Pervenche Berès (S&D, FR), to allow time for informal talks with the Council with a view to reaching a first-reading agreement.

Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure) 1st reading

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