European Elections – what are we talking about?
Five years have passed since the last European elections; now we are going to elect our European representatives for the eighth time, since they were first held in 1979. All citizens in the 28 European Union member states who are eligible to vote may do so between May 22nd and May 25th 2014. Nevertheless, this year’s elections will be different from the last, held in May 2009, as the Treaty of Lisbon came into force on December 1st, 2009, just half a year later. Besides these new circumstances, there are several interesting facts and figures around this year’s European elections which will be uncovered in this article.
Article 14 of the Treaty of Lisbon provides us with some answers, by stating that:
“The European Parliament shall be composed of representatives of the Union’s citizens. They shall not exceed seven hundred and fifty in number, plus the President. Representation of citizens shall be degressively proportional, with a minimum threshold of six members per Member State. No Member State shall be allocated more than ninety-six seats.”
This means that the future composition of the European Parliament (EP) will consist of 750 MEPs (Member of the European Parliament), plus the President. The population of each member state is a criterion taken into account in the MEPs distribution; which means that the larger the population of a member state, the higher number of MEPs it can elect. At the same time, smaller member states elect more MEPs per head. This results in the smallest member state, Malta, electing a maximum of 6 MEPs and the largest member state, Germany, a maximum of 96. In comparison to the 2009 elections, some countries will gain seats, other will lose seats and there are those that will retain the same number of seats. Germany, for instance, has to give up three sets, from its previous 99 to 96, whereas France will raise its seats from 72 to 74 and Spain from 50 to 54.