skip to content

Cookie policy on the European Parliament Liaison Office in Ireland website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.

Continue
 
 
 
13-06-2018

Two more seats for Ireland after EU elections in 2019

The European Parliament will shrink from 751 to 705 MEPs when the United Kingdom leaves the EU, leaving room for new countries that may join in the future. 46 of the 73 UK seats freed up by Brexit will be available for possible EU enlargement with the remaining 27 UK seats shared out among 14 under-represented EU countries.

Besides reducing the European Parliament’s size from 751 to 705 elected representatives, a proposed re-distribution of seats, approved by the full House on Wednesday, will also place 46 of the 73 seats, to be freed up by the departure of the UK, in a reserve. 

Some or all of the 46 seats in the reserve can then be allocated to new countries joining the EU or remain empty, thus reducing the size of Parliament. The remaining 27 seats will be re-distributed among the 14 EU countries that are slightly under-represented. 

Proposed allocation of seats (table) 

The text also stresses that the new allocation will apply only if the United Kingdom leaves the EU. Otherwise, the current arrangements would stay in place until Brexit has been legally completed. 

The draft European Council decision was endorsed with 566 votes in favour, 94 against and 31 abstentions. 

 

Next steps 

The new composition of the European Parliament will still require a formal green light from EU leaders at the summit in Brussels on 28-29 June. The decision will enter into force on the day following that of its publication in the EU Official Journal. 

 

Background 

According to Article 14(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the number of Members of the European Parliament cannot exceed 750, plus the President. It also requires representation to be “degressively proportional”, with a minimum threshold of six members per member state, and states that no member state is to be allocated more than 96 seats. 

In simplified terms, “degressive proportionality” should meet two requirements:

no smaller state shall receive more seats than a larger one, and
the ratio of population to seats shall increase as the population increases, before rounding to whole numbers.

This means that the allocation of seats in the European Parliament must reflect demographic developments in the EU countries.

 

Further information