It’s a commonly known fact that seats in the European parliament are distributed among the EU states in accordance with their population or the so-called “degressive proportionality” approach. To this day, Germany serves home to the largest number of people in the EU, as it population reaches 82 million people, followed by France with 65 million people, Italy with 60 million people and Spain with 46 million people. For the sake of comparison, one can add that the estimated population of Luxembourg barely exceeds 600 thousand people, with Malta lagging behind with some 400 thousand people.
According to the data released by the World Bank, in the time span between 1991 and 2017, there’s been no more than 19 countries that underwent a period of population decline during that time. All of them, except for Puerto Rico, were situated in Europe. The global leaders in this negative trend are the Baltic states, namely Latvia (with a decrease of 26.7%), Lithuania (with a decrease of 23.6%) and Estonia (with a decrease of 15.7%).
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to comprehend that any demographic changes will immediately affect the number of seats a country can claim in the European Parliament, especially in a situation when the population will spike in certain states, while others will have to undergo a period of depopulation.
Demographers say that a country with relatively low mortality rates will increase its population with a birth/death ratio higher than 2.1 (2.1 individuals born per one deceased person). However, if back in 1960 the absolute majority of countries of the world were above this critical level, these days no more than a half of all the countries of the world remain above the threshold. Moreover, the absolute majority of European states have dropped below the ratio of 2.1 children born per woman. According to Eurostat, France with 1.90 and Sweden with 1.78 can still hope to break this trend, while Malta with 1.26, Spain with 1.31, and Cyprus and Italy with 1.32 each, are bound to see their populations dwindling.
Demographic estimations for all of the largest regions of the world are readily available and are being updated every two years by the UN along with Eurostat for EU countries. However, these forecasts show us conflicting trends,