New plans for the distribution of MEPs’ seats have come under attack by Italy, which risks losing out on equal footing with France and the UK. Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Italy might block the new system from being inserted in the new EU Treaty to be agreed at a summit in Lisbon next week.
Parliament’s plan was set to encounter the “traditional horse-trading between member states”, but Italy is already picking a turf fight ahead of a decisive summit next week.
Following a meeting with Commission President José Manuel Barroso on 10 October, Italian Prime Minister and former Commission President Romano Prodi said that the country would not block the new EU Treaty to be agreed next week, but might insist on keeping the seat distribution plan out of the text.
“This has got nothing to do with the treaty itself, the treaty can be approved … without any impact of the number of seats in the parliament,” Prodi was quoted as saying by the Associated Press after the meeting.
Under the plan, Italy would only get 72 MEPs and thus lose its equal footing with France (74) and the UK (73), starting from the 2009-2014 parliamentary term.
Italy argues that the proposal is unfair, because it is based on each member states’ population rather than the number of citizens, and thus favours countries with large numbers of immigrants, such as France and the UK.