2013 | 2 (23) | 180-189
Article title

Sprawiedliwość podziału degresywnie proporcjonalnego

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The principle of degressively proportional distribution of seats in the European Parliament has been legally sanctioned under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty. Thus there appeared a solution which defied the perception of justice of distribution according to culturally shaped proportional allocation rules. Previous methods of determining the composition of collegiate bodies generally used the rule of proportional to the population of each constituency, composition of the legal body representing the society. On this basis, there are many socially accepted methods which have been tried and tested. In the field of electoral law regulations the rule of degressive proportionality is a new solution, and as such it still lacks tradition and already shaped approval that may justify its use. This article aims to find justification for this solution as opposed to the socially accep- table methods of distribution of goods and debts. In order to arrive at this argument the article reaches back to Aristotle’s philosophical concept, as well as solutions taken from the Talmud. It turns out that the degressive proportionality falls within the accepted concepts of equitable distribution. It offers an intermediate solution between equal and proportional allocation. There are also legitimate reasons for the use of degressively proportional rule in the process of allocating seats in the European Parliament. The problem is only the lack of unambiguity of the rule and the lack of precise reasoning to determine the boundary conditions at the level set in the Lisbon Treaty. This creates a very high degree of freedom of interpretation, leaving room for political negotiations on the acceptance of specific proposals. This situation has led to the point that, since the legal acceptance of the principle of degressive proportionality, the rule has not been applied in practice. Proposals for the composition of the European Parliament presented at the beginning of 2013 for the term 2014-2019 indicate that over the next five years exceptions to this rule will be approved. The second part of the paper presents proposals on solving the problem that can be found in the literature, as well as two other directions for seeking fair allocation. They cannot be deprived of discretion, as, of course, it is not possible to obtain conclusive decisions without the introduction of additional postulates. These postulates aim at clarifying the determination of the boundary conditions in such a way as to reduce the number of possible solutions or introduce an additional rule that will allow for an unambiguous (for a given population) specification of composition of the European Parliament. This is possible thanks to, inter alia, the ability to generate all feasible solutions. In this situation the solution of the problem is to select one out of a finite number of known divisions according to an established criterion. This frees the process of selecting the composition of the European Parliament from political considerations, and moves the weight of the debate to the ground of determining the said additional criterion. The current problem concerning the distribution of seats in the European Parliament is of course more general. The conditions that caused sanctioning of such a solution are of economic and social origin. It is expected that in the future the number of problems associated with allocation of goods, that are solved in this way, will be greater than they are currently. Undoubtedly, inequalities in various aspects of social existence favor the issue.
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