The European Parliament should shrink from 751 to 705 MEPs when the UK leaves the EU, whilst leaving room for possible new countries joining in the future.
Besides reducing Parliament’s size from 751 to 705 elected representatives, a proposed re-distribution of seats, approved by the Parliament as a whole on Wednesday, would also place 46 of the 73 UK seats to be freed up by Brexit in a reserve.
Some or all of the 46 seats in the reserve could then be reallocated to new countries joining the EU or preserved to keep the institution smaller.
New allocation of seats among 27 member states
The remaining 27 British seats should be re-distributed among the 14 EU countries that are slightly under-represented, to even out current inequalities in their representation in the House, say MEPs.
Co-rapporteur Danuta Hübner (EPP, PL) said, “In times when democracy as a system is called into question, it is our duty to re-ignite citizens’ passion for democracy. I hope we can take a step in the right direction by approving a distribution of the European Parliament’s seats that is fair, that follows objective principles, and that respects the EU’s Treaty.”
They also stress that this allocation would apply only if the UK actually leaves the EU. Otherwise the current arrangements would stay in place until further notice.
A proposal by the Constitutional Affairs Committee calling for a number of MEPs to be elected from an EU-wide electoral constituency, was rejected by the full House.
The proposal for a European Council decision was approved on Wednesday by 431 votes to 182 with 61 abstentions.