Towards new rules for European elections?

Briefing 27-09-2022

In May 2022, the European Parliament adopted a draft legislative act proposing to repeal the 1976 European Electoral Act and replace it with a new Council regulation on the election of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) by direct universal suffrage. The aim is to harmonise a number of rules applicable to European elections, which are currently a combination between the common principles under the European Electoral Act and the different national rules implementing them. Harmonisation would affect several areas, such as the age for voting or standing as a candidate; the electoral calendar for European elections; the principles applicable to the selection of candidates, including from a gender perspective; and the electoral threshold. In addition, the proposal would establish a common electoral system for the election of 28 MEPs in a Union-wide constituency comprising the entire territory of the European Union. The ambition is to further Europeanise the elections to the European Parliament, which are frequently criticised for focusing mainly on domestic political considerations and less so on the EU project. To enter into force, the proposal needs to be adopted by the Council unanimously, after obtaining Parliament’s consent by a majority of its component members. Moreover, all Member States need to approve it as per their constitutional requirements. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.