What will EU Parliament look like after Brexit?
The EU Parliament's Constitutional Committee is currently discussing what should be done with Britain's seats after Brexit. Some countries are to be given more seats based on their demographics. Another proposal involves filling some of the vacant seats with members of transnational, European lists. Not all journalists find these plans expedient.
Streamlined parliament a good idea
The empty seats should just be scrapped entirely, La Stampa argues:
“While the European jurists are debating how to best to use and distribute the seats, common sense and pragmatism tell us to bid farewell to them at the same as we say farewell to our friends across the English Channel. Apart from honourable idealism, keeping them makes little sense either politically or financially. The parliament is in any case already one of the most populous political bodies in the world. … It beats America and all its European sister parliaments in this respect. The only parliaments with more seats are those of China and India. … So would it be such a drama for the European assembly to undergo a salutary purge?”
Give voters clear alternatives
The Süddeutsche Zeitung sees a chance to finally make European politics more understandable to the public:
“In the long term the citizens can only be reached emotionally through true European parliamentarianism: a confrontation between government and opposition, clear alternatives. This would hopefully put an end to the grand coalition of the centre that has effectively existed for decades. European, transnational lists of candidates would be a small but necessary step in the right direction. Only if the parties that do politics in and for Europe are on the ballot paper and can campaign for what they want to achieve will noticeable differences become apparent: between the national and the European.”
Right-wing extremists could join forces
Helsingin Sanomat is not at all convinced by the idea:
“In France and Italy people have warmed to the idea of filling the gaps in the EU Parliament with transnational European lists. ... Supporters of the plan believe this could strengthen the pro-EU forces and put the populists under pressure. The idea isn't bad. But what makes them think that right-wing extremists and anti-EU forces wouldn't join forces and use the new lists to gain their own victory? What's more, the proposal gives big countries an advantage. Even if the Finns decided to give their votes to the Finnish candidate of a supranational list, he wouldn't stand any real chance of winning.”