Disenfranchisement of EU citizens resident abroad: Situation in national and European elections in EU Member States

30-06-2015

The right to vote is a fundamental one and of utmost importance for the democratic legitimacy of any public power. Six EU Member States deprive their nationals permanently resident abroad of the right to vote in national parliamentary elections. They also deprive such citizens residing in a third country of the vote in European elections, and two of them even when their nationals live in another EU Member State. Citizens disenfranchised in their country of origin often face exclusion from political life at national level in both their country of origin and of residence. In the case of citizens living in another EU Member State, the disenfranchisement rules could even amount to an infringement of their freedom of movement and residence under EU law. Solutions discussed include a Treaty change to allow EU citizens to vote in national parliamentary elections in their host Member State or to be able to choose between voting there or in their Member State of nationality. A more realistic solution envisages the abolition of disenfranchisement rules in those six Member States concerned, although such calls from EU institutions have found very limited favour in the six concerned. This in-depth-analysis updates an earlier one of December 2014.

The right to vote is a fundamental one and of utmost importance for the democratic legitimacy of any public power. Six EU Member States deprive their nationals permanently resident abroad of the right to vote in national parliamentary elections. They also deprive such citizens residing in a third country of the vote in European elections, and two of them even when their nationals live in another EU Member State. Citizens disenfranchised in their country of origin often face exclusion from political life at national level in both their country of origin and of residence. In the case of citizens living in another EU Member State, the disenfranchisement rules could even amount to an infringement of their freedom of movement and residence under EU law. Solutions discussed include a Treaty change to allow EU citizens to vote in national parliamentary elections in their host Member State or to be able to choose between voting there or in their Member State of nationality. A more realistic solution envisages the abolition of disenfranchisement rules in those six Member States concerned, although such calls from EU institutions have found very limited favour in the six concerned. This in-depth-analysis updates an earlier one of December 2014.