MEPs from the European Free Alliance (EFA) Group in the European Parliament, which represents Europe's stateless nations, regions and minorities, have expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome of today's vote to reform European electoral law.
They are concerned that the changes run contrary to European values and will risk leaving millions of citizens unrepresented in the European Parliament.
At the heart of the controversy is the establishment of a minimum threshold of between 2% and 5% in order to win representation which applies in European states with 35 or more MEPs. In practice, this is only likely to have any effect in Germany or Spain, where smaller parties, or parties which do not stand across the whole territory of the state, could be disadvantaged.
The European Parliament approved the reforms by 397 votes in favour, 207 against and 62 abstentions.
President of the EFA Group in the European Parliament, and Greens/EFA Shadow Rapporteur on the Reform of EU electoral law, Josep-Maria Terricabras MEP said:
"I regret this backward step for European democracy, which risks undermining the democratic plurality that's so important in the European Parliament.
"The European Parliament has demonstrated its inability to resolve the democratic deficit in its membership. This change will only be of benefit to the large, traditional parties, putting the diversity of the European Parliament's membership at risk. This does a great disservice to Europe's citizens, who expect and deserve a more pluralist approach to representation.
"I am equally disappointed that no firm steps have been taken towards achieving gender equality amongst elected members."
EFA MEP Jordi Solé said:
"One of the solutions we demand to alleviate the effects of this unjust reform is to end the single constituency in Spain.
"A state the size of Spain must have electoral laws that represent its plurality.
"The growing lack of political diversity in the European parliament is not what citizens expect or deserve from a European project that should represent them all."