The European Parliament will slim down from 766 MEPs this summer to 751 after the 2014 elections, but how to decide which countries should give up a seat? MEPs decided to opt for the fairest and most equitable solution when they adopted a proposal on it on Wednesday 13 March.
The EP currently boasts 754 MEPs but this will be increased to 766 once Croatia joins in July. After next year's elections, this number will have be reduced to 751. Under the proposal adopted by MEPs on 13 March, Germany will lose three seats and 12 countries will each lose one seat: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania. EP elections should take place in May 2014, as requested by a resolution adopted by Parliament on 22 November 2012.
Why the reduction?
When the Lisbon treaty was being negotiated, it was decided to put a cap on the total number of MEPs to prevent the European Parliament growing indefinitely every time a new member state joins the EU. This is why the treaty sets a number of restrictions:
The allocation of seats is also being adjusted to take into account changes in the population of member states. While some got bigger, others got smaller.
Parliament can submit a proposal on its composition to the European Council, which must then decide by unanimous vote. EP can then approve or reject the decision by the Council, but it cannot change the content of the proposal.
What about the Commission president?