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EU presents post-Brexit European Parliament plan

January 23, 2018

An EU committee has proposed a post-Brexit change to seat distribution in the bloc's parliament. Some of the UK's 73 European Parliament seats would go to Spain and France while others could cross national borders.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voting
Image: Getty Images/AFP/F. Florin

The European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee outlined plans on Tuesday for 27 of the chamber's current 751 seats to be shared out among 14 European states: the biggest winners would be Spain and France with five more seats each, while Italy and the Netherlands would gain three each. The German count, the European Parliament's largest, would remain unchanged at 96.

The committee voted 24-4 in favor of the plan after months of debate.

n elections to be held in May 2019, two months after the current scheduled date for Brexit, the total number of seats in the legislature would therefore shrink from 751 to 705, the committee proposed.

The Polish lawmaker responsible for the report, Danuta Huebner from the conservative European People's Party that includes Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU, said the committee had been "able to achieve a key success, namely to reduce the size of the European Parliament."

Pan-European lists

Thirty of the 73 British seats should be kept in reserve for "possible pan-European lists," the committee's report proposed.

"Introducing such a transnational constituency would strengthen the sense of EU citizenship and the European character of elections to parliament," the European Parliament said in a statement.

The remaining 16 UK seats should be held for new countries which may join the EU in the future. Brussels has ruled out any enlargement until after 2020 but countries including Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey have made applications to join.

Nigel Farage & Jean-Claude Juncker shake hands, laughing, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, 05.04.2017.
The largest contingent of British MEPs belongs to UKIP, the party once synonymous with Nigel FarageImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/J.F. Badias

Ready for June approval

The European Parliament is due to vote on the proposal at a plenary session in early February, before submitting it to the European Council for approval in June.

The European Parliament meets nearly every month. It cannot propose new laws; this is left to the European Commission, the bloc's executive body headed by Jean-Claude Juncker and the European Council which is made up of EU national leaders.

jm/msh (AFP, AP)

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