Wednesday

16th Jan 2019

18 new MEPs to arrive next month

  • 18 new MEPs are expected in Brussels in December (Photo: EUobserver)

The European Parliament is expecting to welcome 18 new members over the course of next month, as a two-and-a-half-year-long bureaucratic procedure draws to a close.

“I’m expecting everybody to arrive between December and January next year,” Jaume Duch, spokesperson of the EU parliament, told EUobserver on Monday (14 November).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The Lisbon Treaty, in which the rules governing the European Union were last modified, limits the number of MEPs to 750 plus one president and tweaks their allocation among member states after the massive enlargements of 2005 and 2007.

Twelve countries are to gain one or more representatives – Spain: 4; Austria, France, and Sweden: 2; Bulgaria, Italy, Malta, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, and the UK: 1 – whereas Germany is set to lose three of them.

The new treaty only came into force, however, half a year after elections in June 2009 had already produced the 736-strong parliament of today, creating something of a legal conundrum: adding the 18 newcomers would amount to a surplus of three deputees – illegal under the new rules.

The solution foreseen by EU leaders was a treaty change that would allow the total number of MEPs to rise temporarily to 754 until the end of the 2009-2014 legislative term. “The objective is that this modification should enter into force, if possible, during the year 2010,” according to the conclusions of the European council of December 2008.

It took longer than expected, though. “It is a procedure that has to go through the parliaments of all the 27 member states. That takes a bit of time,” says Duch.

Belgium was the latest to ratify, as the treaty change passed the latest of its six parliaments late last month.

“It now still has to send the ratification to Rome, as other member states have already done, where the treaty is located. There, Italian diplomats will assess the validity of the documents and annex it to the original. The modified treaty then comes into force on the first of the next month, in this case 1 December,” explained Duch.

Yet, even when 18 newcomers are expected to begin their new life as MEPs as early as next month, not all have been informed. “I haven’t received any official communication. I do not know when I’m supposed to begin. Nothing is certain,” said Joseph Cuschieri, of the Maltese Labour Party - one of the 18 MEPs in limbo.

He has long criticised the fact that he and his 17 counterparts have not been installed earlier as observing members. “I think it is anti-democratic. We have been elected and it is unfair with regard to the people who have voted for us.”

Duch, for his part, says that the European Parliament “did not consider that necessary. Even more so because in certain cases, the observing members would not have been the same people as the full members afterwards.”

For Cuschieri, the approval may have come too late. “I don’t know if I am going anymore. It depends on whether I will be able to deliver politically or not. I will decide in the coming days.”

Member states set for tussle with parliament over 18 MEPs

EU president Herman Van Rompuy has formally requested the European Parliament not to insist on calling a broad discussion on the best way of getting 18 extra MEPs into the Brussels assembly. Member states fear that other treaty issues will be opened.

New MEPs include far right and youngest deputy

The first of a group of new MEPs have taken up their seats in the European Parliament. Among them are members of the far-right as well as the youngest deputy in the house.

EU warns Romania over corruption amnesty

Juncker warned Romania's government not to move ahead with plans to grant amnesty for corruption, as more than 200 EU laws await decisions during Bucharest's presidency.

Romania mired in corruption woes as presidency begins

With the country's de facto leader filing a lawsuit at the EU's top court over report accusing him of corruption, and concerns of the country's rule of law, Romania's EU presidency kicked off in Bucharest to a rocky start.

News in Brief

  1. May's Brexit deal defeated by 230 votes
  2. German economy hit by global economic turbulence
  3. MEPs narrowly call for end to 'tampon tax'
  4. MEPs back spending €6bn on fusion energy research
  5. MEPs call for 'awareness campaign' on autonomous car benefits
  6. German glyphosate report 'copy-pasted' from industry
  7. Commission set to reveal controversial common tax plan
  8. Merkel plans major EU-China summit for 2020

Opinion

EU parliament vote strengthens whistleblower protection

We must not undervalue what a massive step the European Parliament vote represents. The hard work has paid off. We can take a moment to celebrate, but the hard work begins again for finalising strong protection for European whistleblowers.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. On Morocco, will the EU ignore its own court?
  2. UK parliament rejects May's Brexit deal in historic defeat
  3. EU suggests majority vote on digital tax by 2025
  4. MEPs redouble appeal on sexual harassment
  5. Trump's wall vs Europe's sea
  6. Centre-right MEPs want transparency vote to be secret
  7. Germany scorns 'unusual' US threat on Russia pipeline
  8. UK parliament vote expected to prompt Brexit delay

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us