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Degressive Representation in the European Parliament: the Union Law vs. Reality


The paper presents a diachronic analysis of the apportionment of seats in
the European Parliament from its foundation to the present and the
upcoming European elections. Its goal is to quantify the degressive
proportionality principle to answer whether there has been a degressive
representation in the European Parliament. The analysis employs statistical
tools commonly used for measuring electoral disproportionality; at the
individual level, both the value of a vote (the average number of votes per
mandate) and the advantage ratio (the rate of over-/under-representation
of each Member State) are measured, while at the aggregate level, the level
of malapportionment is measured (with the help of the adaptation of the
Distortion Index). The paper concludes that there has been no degression
in representation in the European Parliament since 2004, while a
degression in representation had been achieved before the 2004 elections.
However, the re-apportionment of seats for the upcoming elections due to
Brexit brought the apportionment of seats closer to the degressive
proportionality principle although there is an exception to the rule which is
mainly caused by the fact that there has been an informal agreement that
no Member State will have fewer representatives in the European
Parliament than it had in the 2014 European elections.


European Parliament, representation, Lisbon Treaty, degressive proportionality, Brexit

PDF Research Article (Czech)

Author Biography

Jakub Charvát

Jakub Charvát works as Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and
Humanities of Metropolitan University Prague, and the Department of
Political Sciences and Philosophy of the Faculty of Arts of Jan Evangelista
Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem. In his research, he focuses on
electoral analysis, politics of electoral reform, political communication and
contemporary history and politics of the Czech Republic and Central
European countries.