European Parliament

European Parliament in Brussels (Photo: European Parliament)

The European Parliament is the assembly of the representatives of the close to 500 million Union citizens and 387 million potential voters in 2009.

Since 1979 the MEPs have been elected by direct universal voting every five years.

Under the Nice Treaty MEPs were "representatives of the peoples of the States brought together in the Community" (Art.189 TEC). Under the Lisbon Treaty MEPs are now "representatives of the Union's citizens" (Art.14.2 TEU).  

The European Parliament has a total of 736 members distributed between member states according to the size of their populations based on the principle of "degressive proportionality".

The number was increased to 754 from 2012 when a Protocol was approved and ratified by all 27 member states. From 2014 it will be 751 - unless new enlargements may have altered the numbers.

Notes

The Lisbon Treaty has removed the distinction between compulsory and non-compulsory expenditure, thus giving the European Parliament an influence on all budgetary categories. 

The European Parliament now also have greater influence in a greater number of areas as the co-decision procedure is applied in more areas - now called the "ordinary legislative procedure".

With the Lisbon Treaty the seats in the European Parliament are distributed according to the formalised principle of "degressive proportionality" securing each member state at least 6 seats and a maximum of 96 in a Parliament of 751 members - from 2014, where the numbers may have changed again because of new enlargements.  

Here is the table for the different member states.

Members of the European Parliament

Country Current Allocation Election Period 2009-2014* Lisbon Treaty
Germany 99 99 96
France 78 72 74
United Kingdom 78 72 73
Italy 78 72 73
Spain 54 50 54
Poland 54 50 51
Romania 35 33 33
Netherlands 27 25 26
Greece 24 22 22
Belgium 24 22 22
Portugal 24 22 22
Hungary 24 22 22
Czech Republic 24 22 22
Sweden 19 18 20
Austria 18 17 19
Bulgaria 18 17 18
Slovakia 14 13 13
Denmark 14 13 13
Finland 14 13 13
Ireland 13 12 12
Lithuania 13 12 12
Latvia 9 8 9
Slovenia 7 7 8
Estonia 6 6 6
Cyprus 6 6 6
Luxembourg 6 6 6
Malta 5 5 6
Total 785 736 751
* In December 2008, Government leaders of the EU countries decided in a declaration on how to shift to new numbers of MEP’s. There will be a pause after the Lisbon Treaty enters into force. The number of MEP’s in the 2009-2014 election period will increase to 754, equal to that of the Lisbon Treaty + 3 Members from Germany (99 total).

Links

European Parliament website http://www.europarl.europa.eu/