Monday 20 April 2009

Political Chairs: Second thoughts

I know I've just posted on the allocation of EP seats among the member states, but I've had a few more thoughts - I was probably thinking too much inside the box (or nation state), and there are a few other ways of looking at the EP seating arrangements.

1. Have purely European constituencies. Instead of allocating seats on a national basis, distribute them on a European basis. I would be personally against this, due to my feelings on the importance of national identity (smaller states wouldn't wnat to be "divided up" while larger states would undoubtedly have several constituencies within their national borders). This could be changed to include 2 "national" seats per state.

2. Have a certain number of transborder constituencies. It would be limited to crossing the borders of 2 countries, or 3 at the most, due to language barriers. Otherwise seats remain allocated nationally.

3. Have some seats resevred for transnational lists. The seats of the EP could be "topped up" with voting for one of the EP groups, as well as "national" seats. The groups could pick the candidates for these lists themselves, rather than the national parties, so this would strengthen the party groups.

4. A mix of 2 and 3.

These options could have the effect of strengthening European-level democracy by giving the elections more of a transnational character structurally, leading to an incentive for a more "European" debate. There are probably more ways of looking at this, and I'd be interested to know people's opinions on this.


  1. Eurocentric,

    Interesting ideas, although I have to say that I have only a few rudimentary ideas about the European elections and the seats.

    I believe that the constiuencies have to be fairly big, if we want a proportional system of representation (admittedly pretty crude if the minimum is two MEPs).

    A uniform electoral code.

    Vote for individual candidate on a party list; not closed lists dictated by parties.

    Elections on the same day.

    A true Europarty statute and the right for them to nominate candidates without national hurdles like zillions of signatures.

    No discrimination of EU residents in another state, including Luxembourg.

  2. Has there been discrimination against EU citizens resident in another member states when it comes to the elections?

    I mostly agree, though the different election days aren't a big problem for me. It would be nice for it to be the same day, but as long as it's within a short period, I don't mind.

    There should be at least some local participation in candidate selection (by local I mean constituency, not national) as well as central party influence - it would be easier to get people to be party activists during European if they felt more involved in the European party. It would probably make it easier for the parties to communicate with he public.

  3. Discrimination: Luxembourg as a small country with a high proportion of ex-pats has been awarded exemptions. But depriving EU citizens there a voice is based on national not European considerations.

    Different election days: In principle, the results can be announced only when the last polling station in the EU has closed. Compare this with real time TV coverage etc. with regard to 'normal' elections.

    The same day would offer the possibility for EU-wide coverage, and if the European elections themselves become interesting, growing numbers of sophisticated viewers would start to follow the results also through European channels.

    Local participation: I think there would be.