In June 2007, EU leaders meeting at the European Council invited the EP to present a proposal by October 2007, in time to be discussed and adopted by the Lisbon Summit at the same time as the new Treaty
The new Treaty fixes a limit of 750 MEPs instead of 736, as laid down in the Nice Treaty. Under the proposals no EU member would have more than 96 seats or less than 6 seats. (Parliament now has 785 MEPs, due to the accession of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007).
French MEP Alain Lamassoure (EPP-ED) and Romanian Socialist Adrian Severin drafted a report that was approved by the EP's Constitutional Affairs Committee 2 October.
The final composition of the European Parliament after 2009 will be decided by the European Council on the basis of Parliament's proposal and after obtaining its consent.
Main points of the Lamassoure Severin draft report
* The Constitutional Affairs Committee agreed on the principle of "degressive proportionality" (bigger Member States agree to accept fewer seats than they would receive if the total were divided according to population size, so as to allow for better representation of less-densely populated states)
* It calls for a revision of the proposed distribution of seats for the 2014-2019 parliamentary term.
* The report does not take further EU enlargements into account. It proposes that future accessions may be accompanied by a temporary increase over and above the 750-seat ceiling.
Opinions of the co-rapporteurs
Ahead of consideration of the report in Plenary we put a number of questions to the two rappporteurs.
Question: Was it easy to find a common position among MEPs when modifying the number of seats allocated to each member state?
Alain Lamassoure (speaking during a press conference) said that "considering the deadlines, we couldn’t propose a definitive system: that’s a first step towards degressive proportionality. It is without doubt the only solution that can be accepted by all member states for 2009. It’s probable that we’ll have to work on it again with new enlargements and demographic changes".
Question: Do you think you’ll manage to get a majority in plenary?
Adrain Severin: “I hope we'll manage to get an overwhelming majority in the plenary. This will make the political message of the EP strong, proving that MEPs are able to overcome their national subjectivity and their electoral opportunism in order to make important decisions, which among others increase legitimacy of the EP and the solidarity between 'big', 'medium' and 'small' member states.”