Estonia blocks decision on seat allocation in European Parliament

  • 2023-07-21

BRUSSELS - Estonia has blocked a decision on the allocation of seats in the European Parliament, which among other things would give Latvia an additional seat in the EU Parliament. 

All EU member states except Estonia have agreed on a compromise giving France, Belgium, and Poland extra seats while also certifying the death of transnational lists.

Estonia rejected the compromise because it "needs further clarification and explanation on the reasoning of the numbers and math behind it by the [Spanish EU Council] Presidency", an EU diplomat told EURACTIV.

The European Parliament initially proposed awarding two extra seats to Spain and the Netherlands and one to Austria, Denmark, Finland, Slovakia, Ireland, Slovenia and Latvia to correctly apply the degressive proportionality principle required under EU treaties.

However, reaching the necessary consensus among member states on this issue has not been easy.

France and Belgium sought two and one extra seats, respectively, and the Dutch and German opposed increasing the total number of European parliamentarians. Apart from including the Parliament’s original suggestions, the new compromise also gives France and Belgium their claimed seats while giving one to Poland.

The compromise further certifies the death of transnational lists, at least for the 2024 EU elections, and MEPs have been given until 2027 to prepare a proposal with the new allocation mechanism by the end of 2027.

The matter was poised to be settled on Wednesday had not been for the sole rejection of Estonia, which caused "frustration" among EU countries.

Tallinn has promised to study Spain's clarifications and to announce its final decision by July 26, the last chance to change the seat allocation before next May's elections.