- Spain, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Slovakia, Ireland, Slovenia, and Latvia would elect additional MEPs next year
- Any changes to this proposal by the European Council will have to be approved by Parliament
- MEPs demand progress be made on the revision of the EU electoral law, stuck due to some countries’ reticence
Parliament has adopted the proposal on its composition seeking to increase the number of seats by 11, to a total of 716, ahead of the European elections in June 2024.
Reflecting demographic changes in the EU since the 2019 elections, the report approved on Thursday asks for additional seats to be allocated as follows:
- Spain +2 
- Netherlands +2 
- Austria +1 
- Denmark +1 
- Finland +1 
- Slovakia +1 
- Ireland +1 
- Slovenia +1 
- Latvia +1 
Parliament’s composition is assessed before each election, in line with the principles set out in the Treaties (i.e. a maximum of 750 MEPs plus the President, no less than 6 and no more than 96 seats for any EU country, and the “degressive proportionality” principle), and based on the most recent population figures.
MEPs want to keep a reserve of 28 seats for members elected in a future Union-wide constituency, in line with Parliament’s proposal on the EU electoral law, which is awaiting progress in the Council. They warn that any further delay in the Council’s work on this reform would run against the principle of sincere cooperation, since the Council’s decision is expected to have an impact on the elections of the European Parliament and may also affect its composition.
The proposal for a European Council Decision was adopted with 316 votes for, 169 against, and 67 abstentions. The resolution accompanying the proposal was approved with 312 in favour, 201 against, and 44 abstentions. Roll call results will be available here.
It is now up to the European Council to adopt a decision by unanimity, which would then require Parliament’s consent. MEPs underline the need to proceed swiftly, in order to give member states the time to make the necessary changes ahead of next year’s ballots, so it asks to be immediately informed if the European Council intends to deviate from the submitted proposal.
Co-rapporteur Loránt VINCZE (EPP, RO) commented: “Out of the numerous proposals for seat distribution presented both in Committee and Plenary, Parliament today maintained the initial proposal we submitted with my co-rapporteur colleague. The solution is a balanced one and the least intrusive in the existing balance in citizen representation. It only adds the least amount of seats needed to comply with a strict interpretation of the degressive proportionality principle from the Treaties and only where these are objectively justified without resorting to cuts in case of any country. I am confident it has a high likelihood of meeting the European Council’s unanimous approval.”
Co-rapporteur Sandro GOZI (Renew, FR) said: “This is an important step towards a fairer Europe. Parliament’s composition goes hand in hand with the new European electoral law. Both are key to achieving elections in 2024 that are both more European and more representative. We urge the Council to accelerate negotiations, with a view to allocating 28 transnational seats to a pan-European constituency, and hope that the final decision, which will need our consent, will better take into account demographic developments, and in a more proportional way.”