Monday, 20 April 2009

European Parliament elections 2009 (86): Are the Scottish underrepresented?

Via Tom I found the follwoing in a blog entry by Jeff:
Think on this:
  • Slovakia has a population of 5.4m people and is represented by 14 MEPs.
  • Finland has a population of 5.3m and is represented by 14 MEPs.
  • Ireland has a population of 4.4m people and is represented by 13 MEPs.
  • Lithuania has a population of 3.3m people and is represented by 13 MEPs.
  • Latvia has a population of 2.2m people and is represented by 9 MEPs.
  • Slovenia has a population of 2m people and is represented by 7 MEPs.
  • Estonia has a population of 1.3m people and is represented by 6 MEPs.
  • Scotland has a population of 5.2m pople and is represented by a mere 6 MEPs.
In fact, if you calculate the number of inhabitants per MEP, then Scotland is close to the overal ratio of the United Kingdom (the UK is subdivided into 12 constituencies of 4-10 MEPs), which itself has a comparable ration to the the largest member state, Germany.

So in comparison with small EU member states Scotland might be underrepresented, but in relation to the number of MEPs of the UK, a Scottish vote has a similar weight to the vote of any other UK citizen.

Under the category "European Parliament elections 2009" I am following up national and European activities on the path to the European Parliament elections 2009.

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Grahnlaw said...

The principle of degressive proportionality has been put into practice in a way which favours the smallest member states too much.

It is not based on popular representation, but on representation for member states.

This structural flaw becomes an argument for secession of regions within member states.

The 'first chamber' of the European Parliament should give each citizen's vote more or less the same weight.

Then it would be neutral with regard to independence movements within member states.

But the current arrangments form a package with Council voting rights.

Structural flaws like these are often hard to correct later. The Lisbon Treaty makes matters even worse by awarding a minimum of six MEPs to each member state.

Just as an illustration: Under Lisbon, if 83 million Germans were rearranged into 166 mini-states of half a million inhabitants each, they would be entitled to 996 MEP seats, way beyond the total number of seats in the European Parliament.

Eurocentric said...

It does raise a lot of questions about representation, and the EU's structure.

One thing though - Ireland's number of MEPs will go down to 12 in this election (it'll be the same under Lisbon). If Scotland would have proportionally more representation under independence, then Ireland would probably be less well represented in terms of MEPs under reunification - NI has less than 2 million citizens and 3 MEPs.

However, this all depends on how you rate national versus individual representation...

I've posted a small blog reply here: