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Battle for seats: which countries will have to give up MEPs in 2014?

Others Article - Institutions20-02-2013 - 11:17
 

The European Parliament will be put on a diet after the 2014 elections with the total number of MEPs going down from 766 to 751. This inevitably means that some countries have to give up on some of their existing seats. The EP's constitutional affairs committee has now come up with a solution, which it hopes will be fair and equitable. Apart from Germany which is losing three seats, no country would have to relinquish more than one MEP.


The current situation


There are currently 754 MEPs but when Croatia joins later this year, it will get 12 seats, bringing the total to 766.


Why new numbers?


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 maximum number of MEPs is 750 plus the president
  • The maximum number of MEPs per country is 96
  • The minimum number of MEPs per country is 6
  • The division of seats should be according to degressive proportionality, meaning the more citizens a member sate has, the more seats it will get, but also the more citizens each MEP will represent. So MEPs from smaller countries represent fewer people than their colleagues from larger states.

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.


Procedure

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.


Proposal


For the next parliamentary term, Germany would have to give up three seats, while 12 will lose one seat each  (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania), according to the proposal adopted on 19 February by the constitutional affairs committee. The next elections for the European Parliament will take place in May or June 2014.


The committee also agreed to submit a new proposal before the end of 2015 to establish a durable and transparent system for allocating seats among EU member states before each European election. This should take into account demographic developments and not exclude the possibility of reserving a number of seats to members elected on transnational lists.


Next steps


The proposal will be discussed in full plenary on 13 March and voted on by all MEPs the following day.


Proposal for 2014-2019 approved by the EP's constitutional affairs committee


Member States

Seats -

current allocation

Seats - proposed allocation 2014-2019

Difference

Germany

99

96

-3

France

74

74

=

UK

73

73

=

Italy

73

73

=

Spain

54

54

=

Poland

51

51

=

Romania

33

32

-1

Netherlands

26

26

=

Greece

22

21

-1

Belgium

22

21

-1

Portugal

22

21

-1

Czech Republic

22

21

-1

Hungary

22

21

-1

Sweden

20

20

=

Austria

19

18

-1

Bulgaria

18

17

-1

Denmark

13

13

=

Slovakia

13

13

=

Finland

13

13

=

Ireland

12

11

-1

Croatia*

12

11

-1

Lithuania

12

11

-1

Slovenia

8

8

=

Latvia

9

8

-1

Estonia

6

6

=

Cyprus

6

6

=

Luxembourg

6

6

=

Malta

6

6

=

TOTAL

766

751

-15


* Croatia will join the EU on 1 July 2013


REF. : 20130214STO05853
Updated: ( 20-02-2013 - 15:40)