Prague, May 17 (CTK) – The Senate, the upper house of the Czech parliament, approved the lowering of the number of MEPs from 751 to 705 due to Brexit on Thursday.

The decreased number will be elected in the elections to the European Parliament in 2019.

The change is yet to be approved by the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, along with the parliaments of all EU member states.

Part of the seats of British MEPs will be filled. Thanks to this, a half of the EU countries should improve their position in the EP. The Czech Republic will keep the same number of 21 MEPs.

Deputy PM Richard Brabec (ANO) called the proposal a “pragmatic and satisfactory” solution.

Senate European committee head Vaclav Hampl (for Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) assessed it positively, too. He appreciated that he bill would not introduce all-European, supranational lists of candidates, which mainly French President Emmanuel Macron promoted, regardless of citizenship.

Under the draft, 46 out of the 73 seats that the British MEPs are to leave, will remain vacant temporarily. In the future, they might be filled by representatives of the new EU member states.

The remaining 27 British mandates will be divided among 14 EU countries that are at present in a slightly disadvantageous position in view of their population.

Consequently, primarily France and Spain would improve their position in the EP, gaining five additional MEPs each. Italy and Netherlands will get three each, Ireland two and another nine EU countries, including the neighbouring Slovakia (now 14 mandates) and Austria (now 19), will get one each.

Along with the Czech Republic, another five countries, Belgium, Portugal, Greece, Hungary and Sweden, will have 21 MEPs. Germany will keep having the strongest group of 96 MEPs, while Cyprus, Malta and Luxembourg will still have the smallest one with six MEPs each.