The Ranked apportionment method — report for the Council of the EU

In its new report written for the Council of the European Union, European Democracy Consulting highlights the shortcomings of the European Parliament’s proposal for a Union-wide constituency and introduces the Ranked apportionment method as a fair compromise, balancing the representation of European citizens and Member States. A brief presentation is available here.

On 3rd May, the European Parliament adopted a report on the reform of the EU electoral act harmonising several voting modalities and providing for the creation of second vote aimed at electing 28 MEPs on a Union-wide constituency. While this announcement was welcomed by the pro-European community, European Democracy Consulting remains concerned by specific shortcomings in the way candidates are elected on this transnational constituency.

This report shows that, beyond its objective contribution to geographical diversity, the arbitrary re-arrangement system introduced by the European Parliament does not actually prevent the over-representation of Member States large and small, that it fails to sufficiently respect parties’ and movements’ preferences in the ordering of their lists, and that it introduces a structural and unavoidable discrimination favouring the largest Member States of each group. In the current proposal, and based on reliable electoral data from the 2019 European elections, Sweden, Hungary and Bulgaria appear to be the biggest losers.

Admittedly, given the limited size of the proposed constituency and the vast demographic differences between European Member States, there are no perfect solutions. This does not mean, however, that all transnational lists systems are equal. In order to remedy this proposal’s shortcomings, European Democracy Consulting has developed the Ranked apportionment method.

Instead of relying on arbitrary groups of Member States, the Ranked apportionment method derives more information from the apportionment of seats between transnational lists, and makes use of a second apportionment based on Member States’ populations.

As such, the Ranked apportionment method provides an easy and fair solution to the issue of national representation in the transnational constituency. Easy, because, beyond a basic requirement to provide a number of different nationalities in the first positions, there are no additional criteria imposed on list formation. It is easy to explain and easy to implement.

Fair, because it provides the balanced representation that Member States should expect, ensures that the assignment of seats results directly and exclusively from electoral lists’ own performance at the polls, and successfully respects parties’ and movements’ ranking preferences.

Finally, the Ranked apportionment method provides sufficient flexibility to be fine-tuned, allowing decision-makers to agree on a balance between the equal representation of Member States and the proportional representation of European citizens.

European Democracy Consulting is convinced that the Ranked apportionment method provides the best possible voting method and the fairest compromise for the introduction of a transnational constituency for the 2024 European elections. As a result, we call on the members of the Council to review this proposal, consider the overarching goals they seek to reach via the introduction of a Union-wide constituency, and to adopt a voting method truly able to achieve these goals and to strengthen our common European democracy.

Read the full report here and the proposed legislative amendments here.

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