European Electoral Reform

There is an incongruity between the function of European political parties – to contribute to forming European political awareness and express the will of the citizens of the Union – and their actual functioning in everyday European politics. This is, for example, visible in the failure to engage the European public in electoral campaigns and the unsatisfactory turnout at European elections.

To realise a truly transnational European democracy, an innovation of the European political system is needed. A reform of the European electoral system and the rules governing the European parties is necessary to strengthen the link between parties and the European public, including:

  • The creation of a European constituency in addition to the national party lists and voting procedures to create a truly trans-national European democracy.
  • More autonomy for the European political parties with respect to their national members, to enrich their role in the European political system.
  • Selection of candidates for the European constituency by European political parties, to increase the connection between MEPs and their European political parties.
  • Expansion of individual membership to all European political parties to offer citizens the opportunity of direct political participation in the European political system.
  • The possibility to found European political parties based solely on individual membership of citizens from several Member States.
  • Consolidation of the democratisation of internal party procedures, including a vote on the Commission presidency candidates at party congresses or through open primaries.
  • The adoption of clear party programmes at party congresses as a basis for national election campaigns.
  • A clear focus on European themes in European elections, to provide a link between the voter’s choice and the actual work of European political parties and groups in the European Parliament.
  • Making the affiliation of national parties with a European political party visible on the ballot paper and campaign materials.
  • Increase the presence of European political parties in media and public debates, aided by the European selection of candidates and the publication of party programmes Europe-wide.

Background

The European electoral reform reappeared in the spotlight with the own-initiative report on ‘The reform of the electoral law of the European Union’, prepared by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs. The Legislative Initiative resolution on the reform was voted on 11 November 2015 and passed with 315 votes in favour, several discussions with the Council were held since then. For the adoption of changes to the European electoral law, unanimity in the Council is required.

In February 2018, EU lawmakers adopted a resolution on the composition of the European Parliament that introduces a new allocation of seats in the EP and allows to reduce the number of seats to 705. While it also gives the lead candidate process the green light, it rejects the proposal to introduce transnational lists for the 2019 elections.


The full policy position, adopted by European Movement International members, can be found here.


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