|Author (Person)||Shelley, John|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.7, 15.2.01, p2|
MOVES by member states to offer the Czech Republic and Hungary more MEPs than agreed at the Nice summit are fuelling concerns that the European Parliament will be unworkable after enlargement.
EU diplomats say the two applicant countries are almost certain to be offered a carrot of two additional Euro MPs each, raising the future number of assembly members from 732 to 736.
The move will come as a blow to the Parliament, as MEPs are already furious over the way member states disregarded their previous promise to limit the increase in members from the existing 626 to 700 when they hammered out the Nice deal.
The Parliament administrators are already facing the logistical nightmare of finding enough office space for the prospective members.
"The contempt with which member states have dealt with the Parliament is something which we cannot ignore," said UK Liberal MEP Andrew Duff.
Under the Nice agreement, the Czech Republic and Hungary are each allocated 20 MEPs - two less than countries already in the EU that have a similar population size, such as Belgium.
Insiders say it will be politically impossible to sell such a palpably unfair deal to the two applicant countries and that existing member states recognise that they will have to offer them extra Euro MPs.
But the assembly has consistently lambasted the way member states have handed out seats as bargaining chips. They say that by breaking the 700-member ceiling laid down in the Amsterdam treaty EU leaders risk making the Parliament unworkable.
"The role of the individual member would be almost imperceptible if we grow to that size," said Duff. "It's just not sensible politics to simply inflate the size of the Parliament to fit the egos of member states."
And with other prospective EU applicants, such as Turkey, Switzerland and Iceland on the far horizon, Duff fears the problem could become even worse. "We will be looking at a Parliament of something like 820 members at this rate," he said.
Moves by Member States to offer the Czech Republic and Hungary more MEPs than agreed at the Nice Summit are fuelling concerns that the European Parliament will be unworkable after enlargement.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|
|Countries / Regions||Czechia, Hungary|