EU Parliament

‘You’ll end up with 751 German MEPs!’ EU warned over ‘illogical and aloof’ Brexit plans

EUROPEAN Parliament plans to start electing new MEPs on a continent-wide rather than national basis are “illogical and aloof” and will accelerate the break up of the bloc, a senior German MEP has warned tonight.

Hans-Olaf Henkel warned eurocrats they will “end up with 751 German MEPs” if they do not row back on proposals to redistribute the seats which will be left vacant when British representatives quit the chamber in 2019.EU Parliament chiefs have suggested that 22 of the 73 UK MEP seats vacated after Brexit should be re-allocated, something critics have blasted as a needless waste of money.

German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel GETTY

German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel has blasted the EU Parliament’s plans

Mr Henkel, the vice-chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) grouping which also including Tory MEPs, dismissed the idea as an “illogical and aloof elite project”.

He said: “So far the inclusion of new countries in the EU has always been the reason for enlarging the parliament, the reduction of the EU must lead then to a reduction of MEPs.
“No one could reasonably explain to European citizens that a smaller EU does not mean a smaller European Parliament when the UK leaves the EU.“If a pan-European list of MEPs was introduced, it would not only be a huge artificial swelling of the Parliament, it would also be a devastating signal of how detached the European elites have become.”

The European Parliament will end up with 751 German MEPs

German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel

He added: “European citizens already feel that their MEPs are too distant from their constituencies and creating European wide lists would exasperate the problem, not solve it.”The German MEP said the idea was being pushed by French president Emmanuel Macron as part of his ambitious reform programme to achieve further federalisation of the EU project.

But he warned it was doomed to end in failure and would exacerbate existing divisions on the continent, which could ultimately lead to other countries following Britain out the exit door.

He warned EU officials: “If the split within Europe deepens, more and more countries will leave the EU and finally the European Parliament will end up with 751 German MEPs.”Brexit rapporteur Guy Verhofstadt, a committed eurofederalist, is now actively pressing the Parliament to adopt the pan-European list system for the 2019 elections.

But other MEPs are less convinced including the Polish centre-right MEP Danuta Huebner, chair of the constitutional affairs committee, who said there is no legal basis for the plan.

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