- Municipal elections should be more accessible to Europeans from another EU country, who want to participate as candidates or voters
- Specific provisions for vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities and mental illnesses
- Draft proposals complementary to those put forward in December for participation in European elections
The Civil Liberties committee has endorsed proposals to make it easier for Europeans to vote and stand in municipal elections in the EU country in which they reside.
With 51 votes in favour, three against, and seven abstentions, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs adopted its draft proposals to reinforce the right of European citizens to participate in municipal elections in another EU country where they reside.
In this draft report (that complements the one endorsed by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs in December in relation to the rights of mobile citizens in European elections), MEPs ask for linguistic barriers to be lifted, for registration procedures to be simplified and undertaken earlier and more diligently, for the rights of vulnerable groups to be better safeguarded, and for voting to be made easier through the introduction of postal, advance, proxy, or electronic voting. Here too, MEPs seek to remove the so called “derogation” provisions, which currently allow a member state to restrict mobile Europeans’ right to vote and stand in elections when their population grows to over 20% of all EU citizens (nationals and mobile) residing in its territory. The draft proposals also would remove the rules that currently allow EU countries to reserve top local government positions for their own nationals.
The two reports are set to be tabled at the February plenary session in Strasbourg. MEPs hope to finalise the process on time for the 2024 European elections.
Article 22 TFEU sets out a special legislative procedure for these rules: unanimity-based vote in the Council, after a consultation with the Parliament. The Commission put forward its proposal on 25 November 2021, which would requires EU countries to appoint authorities that will proactively inform mobile EU citizens residing on their territory of the conditions and detailed rules for registration as a voter or candidate in municipal elections, before and after their registration.
Based on data from 2020, the share of mobile EU citizens in the overall voting population varies greatly between EU countries. It is by far the highest in Luxembourg (40.4%) and the lowest in Poland (0.09%). In Cyprus, Ireland, Belgium, Austria, and Malta, the share of non-national EU citizens of voting age is also considerable, corresponding to between 7 and 14% of the electorate.