The Composition of the European Parliament in Brexit Times

Working Paper
Federico Fabbrini & Rebecca Schmidt


The article examines the implications of the delayed exit of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) for the composition of the European Parliament (EP). On the assumption that Brexit would occur in March 2019, the EU had reallocated the seats for the 2018-2024 EP term, reducing the overall number of seats, and transferring 27 of the 73 UK seats to other 14 Member States. However, the Brexit extension accorded in April 2019, and the participation of the UK to the EP elections in May 2019, required going back to the previous allocation of EP seats, which applied in the 2014-2019 EP term, until Brexit occurs. As a consequence, the EU is now in the peculiar situation that 73 UK Members of the EP (MEPs) are elected on a resolutive condition (until Brexit occurs) and 27 potential future MEPs are elected on a suspensive condition (only when Brexit occurs). This article examines the legal and institutional challenges connected to this situation, and argues that while the suspensive condition seems to be acceptable, the resolutive condition is questionable in light of EU constitutional principles.