Answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission
As already highlighted in its reply to Written Question E‑7910/2010 by Mr Jim Higgins and E‑8488/2011 by Mr Morten Løkkegaard(1), the Commission is aware that national provisions in a number of Member States disenfranchise their nationals due to their residence abroad. Consequently, EU citizens of the Member States concerned cannot participate in any national elections.
The Commission announced in the EU Citizenship report 2010 report(2) that it would launch a discussion to identify political options to prevent EU citizens from losing their political rights, and namely the right to vote in national elections, as a consequence of exercising their right to free movement. The Commission has recently contacted the concerned Member States to launch this debate and to explore the possible political solutions.
The Commission has raised at this occasion that, while organisation of national elections falls within the responsibilities of Member States, if citizens cannot participate in electing Member States government, nor in their Member State of origin or the Member State of residence, and thus are not represented in the Council of Ministers, these citizens cannot fully participate in the democratic life of the Union.
The Commission would like to inform that the accession to the ECHR will not extend the European Union competences as defined in the Treaties. In particular, the accession to the First Protocol of the Convention neither will extend the right to vote of EU citizens residing outside their Member State to national parliamentary elections, nor enable Commission to take actions against Member states' violations of Article 3 of this Protocol.