Eurodeputies in Strasbourg are debating how many of them there will be when the new EU treaty is approved this October (if all goes to plan). The composition of the assembly following the 2009 European elections is the one point not left to the legal experts drafting a replacement to the unsuccessful constitution. That treaty reduces the number of parliament members from 785 today to 750.
The EU Member States in June set a maximum of 96 MEPs per country. Germany currently has 99. The minimum agreed was six, which is how many Luxembourg has. The debate will take into account a principle of digressive proportionality, giving consideration to each country’s demographic weight.
Anibal Cavaco Silva, the President of Portugal, which is currently chair of the European Council, appealed to the assembly to make every effort to reach an accord during his country’s term at the helm. The present distribution of seats is already open to criticism. For example, Spain has one MEP per 800,000 inhabitants while Estonia has one per 200,000.