Germany is over-represented in the European Parliament, giving it a correspondingly high potential to influence EU policies, while other countries are at disadvantage, according to a recent report by a Romanian think-tank. EURACTIV Romania reports.
The European Institute for Participative Democracy (Qvorum) in Bucharest has published a study comparing the ‘influence potential’ of the 27 EU member countries in the European Parliament.
Qvorum, a non-partisan think-tank which aims to stimulate citizens’ and social partners’ involvement in the policymaking process, discovered that a number of countries have won privileged representation in the assembly’s governing bodies, while other nations are clearly under-represented.
A ranking is established according to the top positions that each country secured in the Parliament’s numerous structures: presidencies and vice-presidencies, committees and delegation chairs, as well as within party structures.
Germany tops the list with 146.8 points, some distance ahead of second-placed France, which has 119 points. In fact, the report found that Germany is over-represented vis-à-vis France, Italy and the UK, as these countries currently hold the same voting weight under the qualified majority voting (QMV) rules of the Nice Treaty.
Indeed, Germany has secured an unprecedented four committee chairs and eight vice-presidencies, and holds three political group presidencies and another three group vice-presidencies.
Clear examples of under-representation vis-à-vis member countries with similar populations are Spain (in comparison to Poland) and the Netherlands (which is at a disadvantage compared to Belgium, Portugal, Hungary, Sweden and Austria).
As for East European countries, the two biggest newcomers, Poland and Romania, apparently have no reason to complain. However, Eastern Europe remains at a disadvantage overall (EURACTIV 23/07/09). Three countries – Slovenia, Estonia and Latvia – have zero points, as they have not obtained any important positions in the new assembly.
Last but not least, Ireland, which is set to hold a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty on 2 October, is clearly under-represented, compared to Denmark, Slovakia, Finland, Cyprus, and even Luxembourg and Malta.
|Member country||Position in EP according to Qvorum||QMV (Nice)|