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Seat reshuffle in European Parliament - some to go

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Seat reshuffle in European Parliament - some to go

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Most of today’s EU countries will have fewer members in the European Parliament from 2009, according to reforms currently under debate on the distribution of seats by country.

With the total number set to be reduced to 750 from today’s 785, this means no country will have more than 96 MEPs or fewer than six. The principle applied is one of degressive proportional representation.

This means that larger countries have higher numbers of citizens represented by each of their euro-MPs. Adjustments have to be made to allow for a different number of countries in a future EU, and fluctuations in population sizes.

Today’s system is criticised as unfair. For example, for every one of Spain’s deputies in Brussels and Strasbourg there are 800,000 citizens; For Estonia, it is a mere 200,000.

Seventeen countries will eventually make do with fewer parliament seats.