How are members of the European Parliament elected?
European elections are held every five years. In 2019, elections took place from 23 to 26 May.
Each member state has a fixed number of members of the European Parliament (MEPs); from six for Malta, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Estonia to 96 for Germany, making a total of 751. MEPs and Council have agreed to reduce the size of the EP from 751 to 705 seats once the UK leaves the EU. This reduction would leave room for possible future enlargements of the Union, while the rest of seats the UK leaves vacant will be reallocated to countries which were rather underrepresented.
The allocation of seats is laid down in the European Union treaties. The countries with larger populations have more seats than those with smaller ones, but the latter have more seats than strict proportionality would imply. This system is known as the “degressive proportionality” principle.
Elections to the European Parliament are largely governed by national electoral laws and traditions, but there are some common EU rules. laid down in the Electoral Act of 1976.