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2017/2054(INL) - 26/01/2018 Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading

The Committee on Constitutional Affairs adopted the joint report by Danuta Maria HÜBNER (EPP, PL) and Pedro SILVA PEREIRA (ALDE, PT) on the composition of the European Parliament.

As a reminder, the composition of the European Parliament must respect the criteria laid down in the first subparagraph of Article 14(2) TEU, namely representatives of the Union's citizens not exceeding 750, plus the President, representation being degressively proportional, with a minimum threshold of six members per Member State and no Member State being allocated more than 96 seats.

The European Parliament resolution of 11 November 2015 on the reform of the electoral law of the European Union outlined the possibility of establishing a joint constituency in which lists are headed by each political family’s candidate for the post of President of the Commission. Therefore, once the legal basis has been adopted, the creation of a joint constituency and the setting aside of a portion of Parliament’s seats for this purpose should be considered for future elections.

The introduction of such a constituency would reinforce the notion of European citizenship and strengthen the European character of the elections for the European Parliament.

The European Parliament demanded the introduction of an obligatory threshold for constituencies, and for single-constituency Member States, in which the list system is used and that comprise more than a certain number of seats.

Members considered that this threshold needs to be established taking into account the new allocation of seats.

Members noted that the current allocation of seats in the European Parliament as established in European Council Decision 2013/312/EU only applies to the 2014-2019 parliamentary term. Therefore, a new decision on the composition of the European Parliament for the 2019-2024 parliamentary term is required.

Consequences of Brexit and the proposed composition: on 29 March 2017 and in accordance with Article 50(2) TEU, the UK government notified the European Council of its intention to leave the European Union. Unless the current legal situation changes, the United Kingdom will no longer be a member of the European Union at the time of the next European elections in 2019.

The new distribution shall be based on three principles:

  • respect for the principle of degressive proportionality, as required by Article 14 TEU;
  • no loss of seats for any Member State;
  • a minimal redistribution of the seats vacated by the UK’s exit from the EU.

Members underlined that the seats to be vacated by the United Kingdom (73 seats) upon its withdrawal from the European Union will facilitate the adoption of a new allocation of seats in Parliament, which will implement the principle of degressive proportionality. The new allocation proposed would allow for a reduction in the size of Parliament (from 751 to 705).

Even though Brexit is to take Northern Ireland out of the EU, Members stressed that Northern Irish citizens, under the Good Friday Agreement, also have an inherent right to Irish and therefore EU citizenship.

The report noted that the reduction in the size of Parliament would leave a number of seats (46) to accommodate potential future enlargements of the European Union and members elected on transnational lists in a joint constituency.

The Council is called on to rapidly finalise the revision of the Act concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage.

Members submit to the European Council the annexed proposal for a decision of the European Council establishing the composition of the European Parliament, on the basis of its right of initiative laid down in Article 14(2) TEU and stressed the urgent need to adopt that decision, which requires its consent, so that the Member States can enact, in good time, the necessary domestic provisions to enable them to organise the European elections for the 2019-2024 parliamentary term.