Ireland is set to get two additional seats in the European Parliament once Brexit is legally completed, Mairead McGuinness MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament confirmed today (Monday), ahead of a debate in Strasbourg. The proposal on the future composition of the European Parliament would see a minimal redistribution of the seats currently held by UK MEP seats following the departure of the UK from the EU.
“There are 73 UK MEPs out of a total of 751 Members at present. A new proposal debated before the Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee, of which I am a Member, outlines a reduction in the total number of MEPs but also proposes additional seats for certain countries, including Ireland which may see its representation increase from 11 Members to 13 post-Brexit,” said McGuinness, speaking from the parliament in Strasbourg today.
However, such changes would only come into force after Brexit is legally completed, McGuinness underlined.
“The European elections of 2019 would elect the same number of MEPs in each country as there are today, but with a mechanism put in place to allow the additional MEPs, where applicable, to join later in the parliamentary term. Brexit means it is not possible to implement a permanent solution to the reallocation of European Parliament seats right away. What’s proposed allows for an interim solution with a permanent solution in place for the 2024 elections.”
In respect of degressive proportionality, whereby bigger member states have more MEPs but smaller countries have more MEPs per capita, no country will lose a seat. The total number of MEPs would be reduced to 699 MEPs plus the President (700 elected MEPs in total). The highest number per country remains 96, and the lowest 6. While some countries, like Ireland, Estonia, Austria, Denmark for example would gain seats in the European Parliament.
“The Composition of the European Parliament” report outlines that 51 seats would remain vacant but available for potential future enlargements or to be partially used for a “transnational list”, pending the correct legal basis being found. This would see a number of MEPs elected to represent more than one country and is controversial in the Parliament and in Council, added McGuinness.
The report is subject to review and amendments by MEPs over the next three weeks before coming before the Parliament for a plenary vote at a later stage. It will also be subject to change by Council.