The Committee for European Parliament Constitutional Affairs wishes to bring down the number of MEPs from 751 to 705 in the next parliament.
This reduction by 46 seats is a consequence of the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, anticipated for March 29th, 2019.
The opportunity of creating transnational lists in the future was also approved. Currently the British have 73 seats in the European hemicycle. By virtue of the reform project 27 of them would be retained, and spread amongst 14 of the remaining member states in 2019.
France and Spain would each obtain four additional seats, whilst Italy would receive three more. Belgium would simply retain its 21 MEPs. Moreover, no state would lose seats.
Members of the Committee also voted on Tuesday for transnational lists for the next European elections.
Implementing such a system should be made possible by reform of EU electoral law by 2019. This is not, however, the view of the European People’s Party grouping (“the EPP”), the largest grouping in the European Parliament.
The 46 British seats, which are due to disappear during the 2019 to 2024 legislature, will be retained “in reserve”, so as to potentially be devoted in the future to trans-Eueopean MEPs or those coming from new member states.
The draft legislation adopted by the Committee will be voted upon during a plenary session in the European Parliament in Strasbourg in Februry. The final decision as to the division of seats and the future creation of transnational lists will however be made by EU heads of state and government.