The 2014 European Parliament elections should be held from 22 to 25 May, instead of 5-8 June, according to a draft decision endorsed by the full House on Tuesday. Bringing the elections forward would give the new Parliament more time to prepare for the election of the European Commission President in July 2014.
The draft Council decision bringing forward the next European election dates from 5-8 June to 22-25 May 2014 reflects Parliament's request in a resolution voted on 22 November last year.
MEPs recommended holding the next elections in May, rather than June, to give the new Parliament time to prepare for the election of the European Commission President in July.
The 5-8 June 2014 dates also coincide with the Whit weekend, which falls in the school holidays in many member states.
The resolution was passed by 601 votes to 31, with 16 abstentions.
Only directly-elected EU institution
Every five years EU citizens choose who represents them in the European Parliament, which defends their interests in EU decision-making. Parliament has been elected by direct universal suffrage since 1979. Before that, members were appointed by the member states' national parliaments.
After consulting the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers has to decide on the election period dates by a unanimous vote, which it is expected to take place in June.
The 1976 Electoral Act, concerning the election of members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage, enables the Council, after consulting Parliament, to determine an alternative electoral period if it proves impossible to hold the European elections during the "default" period (i.e. June).