Elections 2019: new distribution of EP seats and reform of EU electoral law 

The European Parliament should shrink from 751 to 705 MEPs when the UK leaves the EU, says a legislative initiative to be debated and voted on Wednesday.

Besides reducing Parliament’s size, a proposed re-distribution of seats for 2019-2024 would place 46 of the 73 UK seats to be freed up by Brexit in a reserve. The other 27 former UK seats would be distributed among the 14 EU countries that are currently slightly under-represented.

EU-wide electoral lists

MEPs will also vote on a proposal to set up “transnational” electoral lists comprising the entire territory of the Union. However, the final decision on the composition of the European Parliament for the next parliamentary term requires unanimous backing by all EU heads of state or government. 

The text also stresses that this allocation would apply only if the UK actually leaves the EU. Otherwise the current arrangements would stay.


Reform of electoral law

Later on Wednesday, MEPs are also set to reiterate their request that EU governments complete the EU electoral law reform needed to create a legal basis for introducing transnational lists. They are set to urge the Council to end the inter-institutional stalemate which has prevented previous attempts to modernise the rules for European elections.


On 11 November 2015, the European Parliament made use of its right under Article 223 (1) of the EU treaties to initiate a reform of the 1976 European Electoral Act.

Next steps

Parliament’s proposal for a modernised electoral law is now being considered by the Council, which decides unanimously, followed by a final yes/no vote in Parliament as a whole. 

The provisions as adopted will also have to be approved by all EU countries, in line with their respective constitutional requirements.

Procedure Code: 2017/2054(INL)

Debate: Wednesday, 7 February 

Vote:  Wednesday, 7 February

Procedure:  legislative initiative, question for oral answer to the Council

Press conference: Wednesday, 7 February at 14.30, with EP co-rapporteurs Danuta Hübner (EPP, PL) and Pedro Silva Pereira (S&D, PT) (TBC)