European elections: your chance to have your say
The European elections give you the chance to select who will represent you in the European Parliament and help decide what kind of Europe we have.
The European elections is about selecting who you want to defend your interests in the EU. Not only can MEPs shape and decide on new legislation, they also vote on new trade agreements, scrutinise the EU institutions and how your tax money is spent, as well as launch investigations into specific issues. Find out information about the MEPs that are representing your country at the moment.
By voting in the EU elections, you exercise your democratic right to take part in decisions on Europe’s future, but also you give the Parliament the legitimacy it needs to perform its duties.
The elections take place every five years and are the largest transnational elections in the world. Following the elections, Parliament votes to elect the new head of the European Commission, which is EU’s executive body, and to approve the full team of commissioners.
The latest elections, which took part in May 2019, saw a significant increase in turnout, which rose to an EU average of more than 50%. Parliament ran a non-partisan information campaign urging people to vote. The campaign led to the launch of the Together community, aiming to promote discussions about the democratic future of Europe.
How voting works
Although there are some common rules regarding the elections, some aspects can vary by country, such as whether it is possible to vote by mail or from abroad.
Election days can also be different. The elections normally start on a Thursday (the day on which the Netherlands usually vote) and finish on a Sunday (when most countries hold their elections).
The number of members elected in each country depends on the size of the population, with smaller countries getting more seats than strict proportionality would imply. Currently, the number of MEPs ranges from six for Malta, Luxembourg and Cyprus to 96 for Germany.
Elections are contested by national political parties but once MEPs are elected, most opt to become part of transnational political groups. Most national parties are affiliated to a European-wide political party.