“Members of the European Parliament should be directly elected by citizens and not through their position on party lists, whether national or least of all, transnational.”
Maltese MEP Alfred Sant told the European Parliament this during a debate on the Composition of the European Parliament at the Plenary in Strasbourg.
A motion was voted in favour by the European Parliament which states that it should shrink from 751 to 705 MEPs when the UK leaves the EU, whilst leaving room for possible new countries joining in the future.
The Maltese MEP voted in favour of the EP proposal on the allocation of seats, which does not entail any losses of seats for the member States, while at the same time reducing the size of Parliament. However, he said that he voted against the creation of a transnational list.
The report was approved with 431 votes in favour, 182 against, with 61 abstentions. A proposal by the Constitutional Affairs Committee calling for a number of MEPs to be elected from an EU-wide electoral constituency, was rejected by the majority of the MEPs.
“The proposal to create new transnational constituencies will continue to dislocate perceptions about the European Parliament away from the daily concerns of citizens, especially in smaller member states,” said Dr Sant.
He added, “being asked to vote for people they do not know or care about, on party lists that cross country borders will sound like a gimmick. Chosen by Political Groups, these MEPs will only be accountable to their Party Leader, generating a greater distance between voters and elected MEPs.”
The European Parliament’s proposal will now go to the European Council that will adopt a draft decision and will then be asked to give its consent to the draft decision of the Council.