Procedure : 2018/2767(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : O-000070/2018

Texts tabled :

O-000070/2018 (B8-0040/2018)

Debates :

PV 02/10/2018 - 18
CRE 02/10/2018 - 18

Votes :

Texts adopted :

Parliamentary questions
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21 June 2018
Question for oral answer O-000070/2018
to the Commission
Rule 128
Cecilia Wikström, on behalf of the Committee on Petitions

 Subject: Disenfranchisement of voting rights in the EU
 Answer in plenary 

The right to vote in elections is a fundamental right common to the constitutional traditions of the Member States, and recognised in the EU Treaties as related to the right of political participation. Participation in the democratic life of the EU and the enjoyment of electoral rights by EU citizens living abroad in another Member State has frequently been the subject of petitions.

Six EU Member States (Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom) deprive their nationals of the right to vote in national elections on account of residence abroad, on the basis of the assumption that expatriates are not affected by political decisions taken in their country of origin. These Member States also disenfranchise their nationals in European elections if they live permanently in a third country, and two of them (Ireland and the United Kingdom) even do so in respect of nationals who are resident in the EU. In some Member States (e.g. Spain and Portugal) there are insufficient or no facilities to vote from abroad, which is an obstacle to the exercise of the right to vote. Limiting or depriving citizens of their right to vote once they move to another EU country could be seen as an infringement on freedom of movement under EU law.

1. Is the Commission planning to take further action, in cooperation with the Member States, to fully protect the right of EU nationals living in another EU Member State to vote in their home elections and referenda, as pledged in its 2017 Citizenship Report? Has the Commission informed all the Member States concerned of the number of complaints lodged by citizens relating to disenfranchisement?

2. Could the Commission report back on the treatment of citizens’ complaints in relation to the right to freedom of movement as a result of Member States’ disenfranchisement of their voting rights when resident abroad? Does the Commission consider this a violation of the right to free movement, and does it intend to take further action to remove the existing obstacles so that citizens can participate in the democratic life of the Union, as guaranteed by Article 10(3) of the TEU?

3. Does the Commission intend to propose measures concerning the European elections, in order to safeguard the right of all EU citizens to choose to vote either in their Member State of origin or in the host Member State?

Last updated: 26 June 2018Legal notice