Wednesday

22nd May 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.

Key details on how Europeans will vote

It's one of the biggest democratic exercises in the world with over 400 million eligible voters. National rules apply, and national parties run, but the stakes are at European level.

Interview

Populists 'could be the opposition parliament needs'

Dutch historian and writer Luuk van Middelaar argues populists could be the new opposition in the next European Parliament and a better reflection of EU public opinion - thus actually reinforcing the body's status.

Timmermans calls for left-wing coalition at debate

The centre-right's Manfred Weber got most of the heat at the EU Commission presidential candidates' final debate before the European elections, while Frans Timmermans reached out to a possible coalition partners - piling more pressure on Weber's EPP.

News in Brief

  1. German MPs show interest in 'Magnitsky' sanctions
  2. CoE: Rights violations in Hungary 'must be addressed'
  3. EU affairs ministers rubber-stamp new ban on plastics
  4. Private companies campaign to boost turnout in EU poll
  5. Austrian government chaos as far-right ministers step down
  6. Farage hit by milkshake during campaign tour
  7. New president dissolves Ukraine's parliament
  8. Sweden Democrat MEP ousted for revealing sex harassment

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us