Apportionment in the European Parliament

Apportionment In The European Parliament

Apportionment in the European Parliament

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Apportionment in the European Parliament relates to the distribution of legislative seats in the European Parliament among the states of the European Union. The Parliament's apportionment is not proportional to the population of the states; rather, the seats are distributed by an ad hoc scheme fulfilling "degressive proportionality".


When the Parliament was established in the 1950s as the 78 member "Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community" the smaller states (Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) were concerned about being underrepresented and hence they were granted more seats than their population would have allowed. Membership increased to 142 with the Assembly expanded to cover the Economic and Atomic Energy Communities.

It then grew further with each enlargement. Membership reached 626 in 1995 with the Treaty of Amsterdam setting a limit of 700. The Treaty of Nice moved this up to 732 and set out the future distribution for up to 27 states. In 2007 Romania and Bulgaria joined with 35 and 18 members respectively temporarily pushing the number of members over the ceiling to 785. In 2009 the number of members decreased to 736.

Nice system

At present, the exact number of seats allocated to each country is determined by the treaties, currently the Treaty of Nice, and is adjusted by the accession treaty of each new member. This last...
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