Saturday 9 January 2010

The lost MEPs: France and the European Parliament after Lisbon

According to an article in Le Monde, the French parliament will not choose the two additional Members of European Parliament that the country will get under the Lisbon Treaty rules before summer.

The vote foreseen in the Assemblée nationale has been postponed from 13 January 2010 without setting a new date.

In the newspaper article, the Spanish EU Council Presidency is blamed for not pushing quick enough for the the reform of the of Protocol 36 on transitional provisions to the Treaties. A ratification of this reform by the member states would be necessary to enlarge the European Parliament to the Lisbon Treaty size of 754; so far just 736 deputies sit in the Parliament according to the Nice Treaty rules under which the EP was elected last year.

For more details on the proposed reform see the respective Council document from 04 Decembery 2009 which I found via the German Bundesrat, the second chamber, there the document is dated 7 January 2010. The fact that one month has passed before this reached the German second chamber maybe is an indication of the speed with which the reform has been pushed...

However, it is also pointed out in Le Monde that France is the only country that hasn't set out internal provisions to chose the addition MEPs according to the rule of direct universal suffrage, and the decision to select the two additional MEPs, due to the complex French general election system, through a national parliament vote has been judged problematic in December already (e.g. here and here).

It needs to be noted that the term "direct universal suffrage" is also included in the Council document linked above, on page 6 (first paragraph).

This matter is yet another proof that the European and national institutions aren't yet prepared for the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty and that they take way too much time to find acceptable solutions - and as so often, it is the member states and the Council causing the trouble.


Ralf Grahn said...


What I find questionable is that the proposal allows the designation of national MPs elected without any connection to the European Parliament elections 2009 and not necessarily under a system of proportional representation.

If I have understood the French press correctly, with regard to the vote now put on hold: the Assamblée Nationale would effectively rob the Greens of the "following" MEPs, based on the June EP elections, by capturing one seat for the right and one for the socialists.

I hope that someone tells me if I'm wrong in my assumptions.