Size of EP to shrink after Brexit
At its plenary session on 7 February 2018, the European Parliament (EP) voted on the question of how many members the EP should have after the UK leaves the European Union. The MEPs decided that the EP should shrink from 751 to 705 members. Besides this reduction in the number of MEPs, the EP also approved a proposed a re-distribution of seats, which 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 in future, 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, say MEPs. A proposal by the Constitutional Affairs Committee calling for a number of MEPs to be elected from an EU-wide electoral constituency, was rejected.
The EP stressed that this allocation would apply only if the UK actually leaves the EU. Otherwise the current arrangements would stay in place until further notice. This legislative initiative will now be put to the European Council (EU heads of state or government) for a unanimous decision, and then returned to Parliament for a final yes/no vote.
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