Number of Bulgarian MEPs to be unchanged in post-Brexit European Parliament

Members of the European Parliament voted on February 7 to approve changes to the number of seats in the legislature after Brexit, which will see it shrink from 751 to 705 MEPs after the UK leaves the EU.

The proposal, to be discussed by the European Council at an informal summit later in February 2018, was approved by 431 votes to 182 with 61 abstentions.

Brexit is to take effect no later than March 30 2019. Provisionally, the next elections for the European Parliament will be in May 2019. The next European Parliament’s term will be until 2024.

Besides reducing the European Parliament’s size from 751 to 705 elected representatives, a proposed re-distribution of seats, approved by MEPs in the February 7 vote, 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.

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, MEPs voted.

According to a draft list, countries that would gain seats would include France and Spain (five each), the Netherlands and Italy (three each), and Ireland (two).

Countries gaining one seat each would include Romania, Poland, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Slovakia, Finland and Estonia.

The number of Bulgaria’s MEPs, 17, would remain unchanged.

EU law says that an EU member state may have no less than six seats in the European Parliament, and no more than 96. As is currently the case, Germany would have the largest number of MEPs in the next European Parliament – 96.

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.

Now that this legislative initiative has been approved by the European Parliament, it will be put to the European Council (EU heads of state or government) for a unanimous decision, and then returned to the European Parliament for a final yes/no vote.

(Photo: European Parliament)



The Sofia Globe staff

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