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Practices and Approaches in EU Member States to Prevent and End Statelessness

16-11-2015

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee. It describes the practices and approaches in all EU Member States as regards the prevention and eradication of statelessness. For that purpose the different national practices are assessed in light of the relevant international and European standards. Since proper mechanisms to identify stateless populations are lacking in a majority of Member ...

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee. It describes the practices and approaches in all EU Member States as regards the prevention and eradication of statelessness. For that purpose the different national practices are assessed in light of the relevant international and European standards. Since proper mechanisms to identify stateless populations are lacking in a majority of Member States, the study addresses the procedures used in determining statelessness and analyses the role of the EU in preventing and reducing statelessness.

Awtur estern

Gerard-René DE GROOT (Maastricht University), Katja SWIDER (University of Amsterdam) and Olivier VONK (Maastricht University and University of Liège)

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 ...

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.

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

10-12-2014

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 intrinsically related to the right of political participation which, for its part, provides democratic legitimacy to those exercising public power. This right is not absolute though and is subject to restrictions. The decision of who is conferred the right to vote in national and also in European elections lies with states. Six EU Member States ...

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 intrinsically related to the right of political participation which, for its part, provides democratic legitimacy to those exercising public power. This right is not absolute though and is subject to restrictions. The decision of who is conferred the right to vote in national and also in European elections lies with states. Six EU Member States deprive their nationals, under varying conditions, of the right to vote in national parliamentary elections due to residence abroad, both in other Member States and in third countries. These same six Member States also disenfranchise their nationals in European elections, if they live permanently in a third country, and two of them even do so in respect of nationals resident within the EU. 'Disenfranchisement' due to residence abroad can be a result of minimum residence requirements in the country in which elections take place as well as of losing electoral rights due to time spent abroad. The lack of facilities to vote from abroad, while rendering the exercise of voting rights difficult, does not amount to their loss as such.Disenfranchisement is based on the assumption that expatriates are not affected by the political decisions taken in their country of nationality and that they are not able to cast a meaningful vote due to lack of knowledge of the political reality there. Globalisation and improved communication means have however induced a tendency towards enfranchising expatriates. Citizens deprived of their right to vote in national elections in their country of nationality often face exclusion from political life at national level in both their state of residence and their state of origin since EU Member States (and more so third countries) do not generally provide any right to vote in national elections to non-nationals. Whilst the European Court of Human Rights saw no infringement of Convention rights from disenfranchisement rules, the loss of electoral rights for citizens who move to another EU Member State could be seen as an infringement upon the freedom of movement under EU law, since it could potentially stop EU citizens from exercising their free movement rights. Different solutions have been discussed. Actions at EU level include a possible infringement procedure against those Member States who disenfranchise their nationals resident elsewhere in the EU, as well as a Treaty change to include a voting right for EU citizens in their host Member State or the right to choose to vote in national elections either in their Member State of nationality or in the host Member State. Another proposal, which is more realistic in the short term, is to convince Member States to enfranchise nationals living in another EU Member State or at least to enhance the conditions for them to preserve their right to vote.

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