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MEP numbers reduced after 2019 euro-elections - if Brexit happens

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MEP numbers reduced after 2019 euro-elections - if Brexit happens

Photo © European Union 2014 - source EP

(STRASBOURG) - The EU Parliament gave the green light Wednesday to a reduction in MEP numbers from 751 to 705, if the United Kingdom finally leaves the EU, leaving room for new countries that may join the EU in the future.

Besides reducing the European Parliament's size from 751 to 705 elected representatives, a proposed re-distribution of seats, approved by the full House on Wednesday, will also place 46 of the 73 seats, to be freed up by the departure of the UK, in a reserve.

Some or all of the 46 seats in the reserve can then be allocated to new countries joining the EU or remain empty, thus reducing the size of Parliament. The remaining 27 seats will be re-distributed among the 14 EU countries that are slightly under-represented.

The text stresses that the new allocation will apply only if the United Kingdom leaves the EU. Otherwise, the current arrangements would stay in place until Brexit has been legally completed.

Under Article 14(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the number of Members of the European Parliament cannot exceed 750, plus the President. It also requires representation to be "degressively proportional", with a minimum threshold of six members per member state, and states that no member state is to be allocated more than 96 seats.

In simplified terms, "degressive proportionality" should meet two requirements: first, that no smaller state receive more seats than a larger one, and second, that the ratio of population to seats shall increase as the population increases, before rounding to whole numbers.

This means that the allocation of seats in the European Parliament must reflect demographic developments in the EU countries.

The new composition of the European Parliament still requires a formal green light from EU leaders at the summit in Brussels on 28-29 June. The decision will enter into force on the day following that of its publication in the EU Official Journal.

Further information, European Parliament

Adopted text will be available here (13.06.2018)

Procedure file

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