Apportionment in the European Parliament
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The apportionment of seats within the European Parliament to each member state of the European Union is set out by the EU treaties. The apportionment of seats is not proportional to each state's population, nor does it reflect any particular mathematical formula; however it is stated in the treaties that distribution of seats should be "degressively proportional" to the population of the member states. The process can be compared to the composition of the electoral college used to elect the President of the United States of America in that, pro rata, the smaller state received more places in the electoral college than the more populous states.
As of March 2012, the total number of members of the European Parliament (MEPs) is 749, five fewer than the current maximum number of MEPs which a recent amendment to the EU treaties temporarily sets at 754. At the next parliamentary election in 2014 the maximum number of MEPs will revert to 751 — 750 MEPs and a president — this being the maximum number allowed by the Lisbon Treaty. This allows member states who gain seats under Lisbon to take them before of the next election, while allowing Germany which loses seats under Lisbon to retain them until the next election.
When the Parliament was established in the 1950s as the 78 member "Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community" the smaller states (Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) were concerned about being underrepresented and hence they were granted more seats than their population would have allowed. Membership increased to 142 with the Assembly expanded to cover the Economic and Atomic Energy Communities.
It then grew further with each enlargement. Membership reached 626 in 1995 with the Treaty of Amsterdam setting a limit of 700. The Treaty of Nice increased this to 732 and set out the future distribution for up to 27 states. In 2007 Romania and Bulgaria joined with 35 and 18 members respectively temporarily pushing the number of members over the ceiling to 785. In 2009 the number of members decreased to 736.
Current apportionment 
The current apportionment of members in the European Parliament reflect an amendment to the Lisbon Treaty which came into force on 1 December 2011. This amendment, in effect, institutes a transitional manner of distributing MEPs to take account of the fact that the 2009 European Parliamentary elections took place under the rules contained in the Nice Treaty and not in the Lisbon Treaty. That result means that member state that are to gain seats in parliament under the Lisbon rules may take them, but that Germany which loses three seats under the Lisbon rules keeps those seats until the next elections, due in 2014. As a result Germany temporarily exceeds the maximum number of MEPs allocatable to a member state under the Lisbon Treaty by having 99 MEPs, three above the intended limit.
Nice system 
The last European parliamentary elections were conducted under the rules included in the Nice Treaty which provided for a maximum number of 736, although that figure had been breached on the accession of new members to the EU. These state being allowed parliamentary representation without a corresponding reduction in the number of MEPs allotted to other member states. This happened in 2007 on the accession of Romania and Bulgaria joined in 2007, when the number of seats temporarily increased to 785. It subsequently returned to 736 in the 2009 election.
736 seats for about 500 million EU citizens meant that there were on average 670,000 citizens represented by each MEP. Some states divide the electorate for their allocated MEPs into sub-national constituencies. However they may not be divided in such a way that the system would no longer be proportional.
- Relative influence of voters from different EU member states (2003)
Lisbon system 
Under the Lisbon Treaty, the cap on the number of seats was raised to 750, with a maximum of 96 and a minimum of 6 seats per state. They continue to be distributed "degressively proportional" to the populations of the EU's member states. Germany lost three seats, while Spain gained four. France, Sweden and Austria gained two seats each and eight other countries each gained one seat:
|European Parliament Apportionment changes between the Treaty of Nice and the Treaty of Lisbon
(as calculated for purposes of the 2009 European Elections)
|a Includes Gibraltar, but not any other BOT, SBA or Crown dependency
b The speaker is not counted officially, thus leaving 750 MEPs.
Italicised countries are divided into sub-national constiuencies
There was controversy over the fact that the population figures are based on residents, not citizens, resulting in countries with larger disenfranchised immigrant populations gaining more under Lisbon than those with smaller ones. Italy would have been the greatest loser under the Lisbon system and sought the same number of MEPs as France and the United Kingdom. Italy raised the issue during treaty negotiations and succeeded in gaining one extra MEP (giving it the same as the UK) while the President of the European Parliament would not be counted as a lawmaker hence keeping the number of MEPs to the 750-seat limit. MEPs also intend to propose amendments well in advance of the 2014 elections to take account of demographic changes. It is hoped that this may avoid the political horse trading that occurs when the numbers need to be revised.. The European Parliament voted on 13 March 2013 a New Proposal reducing of one deputy the number of deputies of 12 Member States (and confirming The -3 of Germany.
Growth in membership 
Source for MEP figures 1952-2004: European NAvigator. Source for population figures and MEP figures for 2007 and 2009: European Parliament. December 2011 figures reflect the members added to the European Parliament by the Protocol Amending the Protocol on Transitional Provisions (OJ 29.9.2010, C 263, p. 1) which came into force on 1 December 2011.
- "MEPs by Member State and political group: 7th parliamentary term". European Parliament. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "18 new MEPs take their seats". European Parliament. 10 January 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Efficient and modern institutions". The Treaty of Lisbon: The treaty at a glance. European Commission. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Ratification of Parliament's 18 additional MEPs completed". European Parliament. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Composition of the European Parliament". European NAvigator. Retrieved 12 June 2007.
- Philip Ebels (14 November 2011). "18 new MEPs to arrive next month". EUOBserver.com. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
- Ratification details
- Protocol Amending the Protocol on Transitional Provisions annexed to the Treaty on European Union, to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and to the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (OJ 29.9.2010, C 263, p. 1).
- "Europäische Verfassung: Das Demokratiedefizit". Spiegel Online. 2 October 2003. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
- "Distribution of EP seats: Constitutional Affairs Committee approvals proposal". Europa.eu. 2 October 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2001.
- "Composition of the European Parliament after European elections in June 2009". Europa.eu. 11 October 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2001.
- Goldirova, Renata (2007-10-12). "Italy seeks to delay MEP seats decision". EU Observer. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- Goldirova, Renata (2007-10-19). "EU agrees new 'Lisbon Treaty'". EU Observer. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-19.
See also