Eleven countries will each lose one seat in the European Parliament after the next elections to make room for Croatia, which is expected to join the EU on 1 July and will also forfeit one of the seats allocated to it.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania would each lose one seat in the European Parliament after the EU elections, to be held between 22 and 25 May in all 28 member states.
The decision, agreed on Wednesday (13 March) was necessary to comply with the 751-seat limit set by the Lisbon Treaty and make room for Croatia, which will have 12 MEPs, one less than earlier projections.
Parliament currently numbers 754 MEPs. To bring the number in accordance with the Lisbon Treaty, Germany will lose three of its 99 seats, bringing its MEPs to 96, the maximum allowed by the Lisbon Treaty.
The allocation of seats for the 2014-2019 legislature should be based on objective criteria, says the resolution adopted by 536 to 111, with 44 abstentions. Demographic changes should be taken into account, while ensuring that "losses are limited to a maximum of one seat per member state", it adds.
Co-rapporteur Rafał Trzaskowski (European Peopel's Party, Poland) said that if lawmakers had taken a stricter approach, then some member states would have gained seats and others would have lost more than one.
“But could we realistically see a radical solution accepted either by this House or by the Council?" he questioned.
His co-rapporteur Roberto Gualtieri (Socialists and Democrats, Italy) called the decision "least imperfect of the possible solutions."
British MEP Andrew Duff (ALDE) argued that the rapporteurs had tried to be pragmatic, “but obviously, pragmatism is not perfection”.
"This experience teaches us that it is difficult to establish a mathematical formula that is clear and transparent just a year before the elections. Therefore this issue should be reopened at the Convention on Constitutional Reform envisaged to take place in 2015,” Duff said.