The Malta Independent 18 November 2017, Saturday

Some MEPs want to reduce the size of the European Parliament after Brexit

Tuesday, 12 September 2017, 19:42 Last update: about 3 months ago

Constitutional Affairs Committee MEPs debated shrinking the Parliament after the UK has left the EU to make room for new member states and pan-European electoral lists.

A new proposal on the re-distribution of Parliament's seats, discussed by the Constitutional Affairs Committee on Monday evening, suggests cutting 51 of the 73 UK seats from the Parliament after Brexit, bringing the institution down from 751 to 700 elected representatives. These vacated seats would then be kept in store in case of a future EU enlargement, and could also be used for the envisaged pan-European lists of Parliament members.

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The remaining "minimal fraction" of 22 British seats could be re-distributed among the remaining 27 EU countries, to better take into account the principle of "degressive proportionality".

No EU country will lose seats

The proposal, drafted by Danuta Hübner from the EPP party and Pedro Silva Pereira from the S&D party, ensures that the new distribution of seats will not mean a loss of seats for any EU country. This suggested distribution method would also only apply once there is legal certainty and the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU becomes legally effective, according to the text.

MEPs note that until Brexit has taken place, "the most viable solution providing legal certainty to Member States would be to maintain the same distribution of seats in Parliament as the one applied for the 2014-2019 parliamentary term".

Reform of the European electoral law

While there are clear references to a pan-European constituency in the proposal, MEPs highlight that a successful reform of the current European electoral law will be mandatory to make transnational voting lists in the EU a reality.

 


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