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C 235 E/74

Official Journal of the European Communities

EN
EN

21.8.2001

The other departments of the JRC are also being audited, the conclusions of which will be available at the end of March 2001.

The Joint Research Centre being what its title suggests, there are no plans to transfer Community competences to the Member States.

( 1 )

COM(2001) 125.

(2001/C 235 E/079)

WRITTEN

QUESTION E-4119/00

by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL) to the Council

(16 January 2001)

Subject: Fixed ratio between Member State populations and number of seats in the European Parliament

1. Can the Council confirm that the agreement reached in Nice from 7 to 11 December on the

allocation of seats for Members of the European Parliament, under which the present Member States, with the exception of the largest and smallest, give up 91 seats and 106 new seats are created to provide 197 seats for the 12 new Member States expected to join in the near future, is not based on a mathematically objective model but is the outcome of horse-trading? In some cases was the number of Members of Parliament lower, the greater the weight of the country’s vote in the Council?

2. Can the Council explain why Greece, Belgium and Portugal, which have populations of between

10 533 000 and 9 980 000, should each get 22 MEPs whereas two applicant countries with populations within this bracket (the Czech Republic with a population of 10 290 000 and Hungary with 10 092 000) should each be allocated only 20 seats, when throughout the run-up to Nice it was assumed that there would be equal representation so that the inhabitants of these five countries would carry equal weight?

3. Can the Council explain why there is a difference of 4 seats between Latvia and Ireland when the

difference in their populations is 1,3 million and a difference of only 2 seats between Latvia and Luxembourg when the difference in population is 2 million? Has a difference in economic power been taken into account in the equation?

4. Can the Council explain why there is a difference of 8 seats between Romania and the Netherlands,

with a difference of over 6 million inhabitants and a difference of only 3 seats between the Netherlands and Portugal with a difference in population of almost 6 million? Has the Netherlands been punished for its tactlessness?

5. Why was an objective ratio of seats to population size not taken as a starting point and a table

drawn up establishing a fixed number of seats for a certain population, so that every five years a rise or fall

in population bringing a country within a different bracket would automatically result in an adjustment in representation?

6. Is the Council still prepared to help ensure that before the 2004 elections a formula for the allocation

seats is found that secures full public support, removes any suspicion of over- or under-representation and better reflects basic democratic principles?

Reply

(7 May 2001)

The question put by the Honourable Member concerns a matter which does not come within the Council’s powers. Under Article 48 of the Treaty on European Union, amendments to the Treaties are adopted by common agreement by a conference of representatives of the governments of the Member States.