Next European Parliament elections to be brought forward to May 2014 

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The 2014 European Parliament elections should be held from 22 to 25 May, instead of 5-8 June, says a draft decision backed with an overwhelming majority by the Constitutional Affairs Committee on Monday. This will give the new Parliament more time to prepare for the election of the European Commission President in July 2014.

The draft Council decision bringing forward the next European election dates from 5-8 June to 22-25 May 2014 reflects Parliament's request in a resolution voted on 22 November last year.

MEPs recommended holding the next elections in May, rather than June, to give the new Parliament time to prepare for the election of the European Commission President in July.

The 5-8 June 2014 period also coincides with the Pentecost weekend, which in many member states falls in the school holidays.

"At this crucial time for the EU, we have to close the gap between its institutions and citizens, to ensure that they play as full and direct a part in their own governance as possible", said rapporteur Carlo Casini (EPP, IT). 

Only directly-elected EU institution

Every five years EU citizens choose who represents them in the European Parliament, the directly-elected institution that defends their interests in EU decision-making. Parliament has been elected by direct universal suffrage since 1979. Before that, members were appointed by the member states' national parliaments.

Next steps

The draft decision still needs to be voted by Parliament as a whole. After consulting the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers must decide on the election period dates by a unanimous vote.

The 1976 Electoral Act, concerning the election of members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage, enables the Council, after consulting Parliament, to determine an alternative electoral period if it proves impossible to hold the European elections during the "default" period (i.e. June).

Procedure: Consultation

In the Chair: Carlo Casini (EPP, IT)