Written by Monika Nogaj and Eva-Maria Poptcheva
Although the Treaties foresee the possibility of a uniform electoral procedure, elections to the European Parliament are determined by national electoral rules, which differ considerably from one Member State to the next. The discrepancies in national procedures make for a very complex overall process of electing Members of the European Parliament. Moreover, problems arise given the nature of political debates ahead of the European elections, tending to focus on domestic issues and ignoring to a large extent, the impact, which decisions at EU level have on national policies. These deficiencies touch upon core founding principles of the EU, such as the equality of citizens, the notion of European citizenship and the democratic character of the elections. They also prevent matters that concern the livelihoods of all Europeans from being brought to the forefront of the debate, as well as hindering the development of a genuine European dimension to the elections.
Article 223 (1) TFEU gives the European Parliament the right to initiate a reform of European electoral law. The Committee on Constitutional Affairs has decided to draft a legislative initiative report to this effect. The Co-Rapporteurs Danuta Hübner and Jo Leinen have proposed a number of measures with the aim of enhancing the democratic nature of the European elections; reinforcing the legal status of citizenship of the Union; improving the functioning of the European Parliament and the governance of the Union; strengthening the legitimacy and efficiency of the European Parliament; enhancing the effectiveness of the system for conducting European elections and providing for greater electoral equality for the citizens of the Union.
This paper describes the European Added Value of possible changes to the EU’s electoral law. It does so by analysing: a) the impact of proposed modifications with respect to these goals, and; b) the necessary level of intervention (action at Member State or EU level, binding or non-binding measures); c) the feasibility of certain actions addressing the heterogeneity of Member States legislation (in particular, linked to the necessity to revise Member States Constitutions).
Read this In-Depth Analysis on The Reform of the Electoral Law of the European Union: European Added Value Assessment accompanying the legislative own-initiative Report in PDF