MEPs will vote this week on the composition of the European Parliament for the 2024-2029 parliamentary term.
Taking into account demographic changes in the Member States, Parliament initially proposed an updated distribution that would provide for a minimum of additional seats.
This is also said to respect the principle of “degressive proportionality” without any country losing seats,
Under this arrangement, 9 Member States would gain seats.
The Council based its draft decision on this proposal and also proposed to allocate two additional seats to France (FR +2) and one additional seat each to Belgium (BE +1) and Poland (PL +1).
This would result in a Chamber of 720 seats.
On Tuesday. the ECR Group said it was “pleased” with the new distribution of seats.
“It has been achieved that the sensible approach, which respects the Treaties will be followed”, said ECR shadow rapporteur Jacek Saryusz-Wolski speaking on behalf of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group.
“Transnational lists would have violated Article 14 of the Treaty on European Union which stipulates that seats are allocated to member states and not to the EU as a whole. Transnational lists could lead to a situation where one country would have more than ninety-six seats, favouring large states and disrupting the diversity within the EU.”
Saryusz-Wolski went on to explain the ECR Group’s voting line and pointed out why the centralist ideas are contrary to the spirit of the European Treaties:
“The whole concept of transnational lists proposed by the centralists seeking ‘more Europe’ goes against the unique multinational character of the European elections and undermines the specific electoral dynamics of the Member States and their constituencies. Such lists would also violate the Treaty-based principles of subsidiarity and proximity by forcing the elections to be centralised around European political entities. Transnational candidates would weaken the link between MEPs and their constituents. It would also alienate people from the EU and jeopardise the institutional balance.”
The ECR said, “This ignores the efforts of the centralist groups to introduce a transnational list and to reserve 28 additional seats for MEPs elected in a Union-wide constituency.”
It goes on, “As there is no “European people” or “demos”, transnational lists would run counter to democratic principles of accountability.”
At the plenary this week lawmakers will also debate a report on the European Defence Industry Reinforcement through common Procurement Act (EDIRPA), a short-term instrument that seeks to incentivise Member States to procure defence products jointly.
The act finances better cooperation of Member States that would lead to common procurement of legal and technical expertise and analysis of products. EU countries continue to transfer defence products to Ukraine, aiding the country in the ongoing-armed conflict.
EDIRPA aims to help Member States to replenish their stocks more effectively.
The vote is on Tuesday.
MEPs, meanwhile, say they wish to see the EU and member states carry out more active and coordinated search and rescue (SAR) operations, with border agency Frontex playing a key role.
A resolution has been adopted asking for member states and Frontex to provide sufficient capacity in terms of vessels, equipment and personnel dedicated to SAR.
Member states should also make full use of vessels operated by NGOs.
A comprehensive EU SAR mission implemented by authorities in member states and Frontex should be established, say MEPs.
Parliament said it “strongly condemns” criminal smuggling and trafficking, whilst reiterating that safe and legal pathways, notably through resettlement, are the best way to avoid casualties at sea.
MEPs also propose that more information about the dangers of this route should be disseminated to people in third counties.