The European Parliament has approved a redistribution of seats from 2009. This is supposed to better reflect the size of populations in the 27-nation Union.
The move is meant to accompany the approval at next week’s EU leaders’ summit of the reform treaty. The assembly went ahead in spite of reservations by Italy.
Rome says if the leaders fail to endorse the proposal unanimously, the seats would stay as is written in the Nice Treaty.
Alain Lamassoure, the French centre-right lawmaker who helped draft parliament’s proposal, said: “I believe it’s a great political victory for the European Parliament; I’d say for Europe itself – that the European deputies can place common interests before national interests.”
Italy stands to shed six seats, compared to now. The UK will have five fewer. Germany drops three. Poland gets three fewer but Malta one more. The recut lops off 35 seats, capping the total at 750.
This reform introduces a rule of proportionality, to allow for future EU member countries to have a share of the parliament seats. Further enlargement would allow there to be more representatives in the assembly temporarily with a subsequent reshuffle reining in the total once again.