21st Mar 2018

Future seats in the European Parliament still controversial

The seats in the European Parliament for future member states are still an issue of discussion. Tuesday the subject was touched upon again during the meeting of the European Parliament chairman Pat Cox with heads of parliaments from the candidate countries.

The Czech Republic and Hungary have been given 18 seats in the Parliament according to the Nice Treaty, however they managed to secure the promise of extra two seats, but the deal is still not closed.

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Commissioner Günter Verheugen, who attended the meeting, said that the Czech Republic will not be discriminated against in the future European Parliament. He promised that the EU would solve the question of the two missing seats for the Czech Republic and for Hungary as well.

The number of seats for Hungary and the Czech Republic will be distributed corresponding to the share of their inhabitants of the total EU population, this is actually the rule applying to all current and future member states. Mr Verheugen tried to assure the candidates that no discriminations will be made but Hungary remained unconvinced.

Hungary is upset

Addressing the audience, Katalin Szili, the head of the Hungarian Parliament, showed her disapproval over the fact that Hungary would have less votes than Portugal, which has a smaller number of inhabitants.

Mrs Szili also found it inexplicable that Romania and Bulgaria, two candidate countries who will be joining later than Hungary, already have their seats - 33 and 17 respectively.

Hungary’s position is that the number of Parliament seats is not a matter of negotiation, Budapest is not willing to give anything in return as it is entitled to these seats, Mrs Szili explained.

The meeting in Brussels also discussed the updated financial proposals submitted to the candidates by the EU Danish Presidency the same day. According to Mr Verheugen, the package covers all issues that have not been solved at talks with the candidates yet.

EU divided over Western Balkan enlargement

After the European Commission presented its Western Balkans strategy last week, with a view of possibly integrating the region by 2025, some EU ministers were less enthusiastic after their first discussion of the new policy.


Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

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