European Elections 2019 | More Transparent and Closer to Citizens?
On 19 November 2015 the European Movement International organised an event on the European Parliament’s initiative to reform the Electoral Law of the EU, discussing the tabled proposals with all major decision-makers.
The European Parliament’s Co-Rapporteurs were joined by the Luxembourgish Minister of Labour Nicolas Schmit, President of the Council of the European Union, as well as Marie-Hélène Boulanger, Head of Unit “Union citizenship rights and free movement” at DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission.
Take a look at the event overview here.
European Movement International Background Briefing on the European Electoral Reform;
Jo Leinen’s interview for EurActiv, “Parliament mulls ‘first steps’ to reform EU elections be-fore 2019”;
Check the procedure’s file and read the report here.
Electoral Law Reform | Background
A proposal on electoral law reform, co-authored by Jo Leinen and Danuta Hübner, was endorsed by MEPs on Wednesday, 11 November.
Even though a legal basis for a uniform European electoral law has existed since the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the Electoral Law Act dating back to 1976 lays down only a few common principles for the conduct of European Elections. European Elections are thus largely governed by 28 different national rule-sets, election campaigns remain focused on national politics and persons and European citizens do not enjoy comparable voting conditions.
With the Report drafted by Jo Leinen (S&D), President of the European Movement International and Danuta Hübner (EPP), Chairwoman of AFCO Committee, the European Parliament is exercising its special right of legislative initiative for a reform of the European electoral law under Art. 223 (1) TFEU. The reform proposal inter alia builds on the new modus operandi for the election of the Commission President with lead candidates nominated by the European political parties and a strengthened role of the European Parliament. Putting forward concrete proposals for amending the 1976 Electoral Act as well as further recommendations, the report seeks to make the European Elections more transparent, more attractive and more European.
Proposed Amendments to the Act:
- Enhancement of the visibility of European political parties by placing their names and logos on the ballot papers, and where possible on posters and other campaign material used in European election campaigns;
- Introduction of a common deadline of twelve weeks before first election day for the establishment of electoral lists;
- Obligation to observe democratic and transparent standards for the selection of candidates;
- Gender balanced lists, either with zipped lists or equivalent measures;
- Improved rules for coordination of national administrations and the exchange of data of citizens eligible to vote in more than one Member State to avoid double voting;
- Introduction of an obligatory threshold for the allocation of seats in single-constituency Member States and con-stituencies which comprise more than 26 seats ranging between 3% and 5% for Member States using the list system;
- Close of polling in all Member States by 21:00 hours CET on the Sunday of elections and simultaneous publication of first exit polls;
- Introduction of a common deadline of 12 weeks for the nomination of lead candidates by the European political parties;
- Introduction of the right to vote in the European elections for all Union citizens living and working outside the EU;
- Possibility for Member States to introduce electronic and internet voting as well as voting by post mail.
- Harmonization of voting at 16 years;
- Establishment of a European Election Authority;
- Single election day for the European Elections.