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The Reform of the Electoral Law of the European Union: European Added Value Assessment accompanying the legislative own-initiative Report

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.

The Reform of the Electoral Law of the European Union: European Added Value Assessment accompanying the legislative own-initiative Report

© European Union, EPRS

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

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About EAVA

The European Parliament's European Added Value Unit provides European Added Value Assessments and Cost of Non-Europe Reports which analyze policy areas where common action at EU level is absent but could bring greater efficiency and a public good for European citizens.

Discussion

8 thoughts on “The Reform of the Electoral Law of the European Union: European Added Value Assessment accompanying the legislative own-initiative Report

  1. Reblogged this on electoralmanac and commented:

    This is an interesting report on European Parliament elections that explores an interesting parallel with elections in the United States: European Member State law and U.S. State law govern the administration of elections and result in the non-uniform election of legislative members. That is to say, members of the European Parliament and members of the U.S. Congress may all serve in the same legislative bodies, but they’ve all been elected under different rules governing, among other things, ballot access, voter registration, election dates, and ballot design. This diversity in rules has led observers in the EU and the U.S. to question the democratic nature of current electoral rules and procedures.

    Like

    Posted by Ursula Kaczmarek | September 30, 2015, 21:25
  2. I have checked the table accounting for the gender balance for each country at the Europarliament since 1979 and there some inconsistencies in data (percentages not adding up to 100%). Since I would like to use this data in a journalistic work on gender balance, who should I address my inquiries?

    Like

    Posted by Olaya Argüeso | September 30, 2015, 12:05
    • Dear Olaya,
      The table accounting for the gender balance for each country at the Europarliament contains data Data sourced from the European Parliament. The table was initially published in House of Commons Research Paper 14/32 11 June 2014, European Parliament Elections 2014. The fact that in some cases the percentage are slightly above the 100%: Denmark 1984, Denmark 1989, Portugal 1989, Denmark 1999 comes certainly from the fact that figures have been rounded up. In any case, you may also find most up to date data on men and women distribution in the EP on the following page:
      http://www.europarl.europa.eu/elections2014-results/en/gender-balance.html

      If you need further info, please do not hesitate to send an email to eprs(at)ep.europa.eu

      Like

      Posted by EPRSAdmin | October 9, 2015, 12:25
      • Dear EPRS team,
        Thank you for your answer. I had already checked the link you mention, but unfortunately the data are not in a reusable format -as happens, by the way, with the table I first mentioned. It would be extremely useful if you could provide readers with a link to downloadable files in reusable formats, like .csv.

        Like

        Posted by Olaya Argüeso | October 13, 2015, 11:08
  3. I have checked the table accounting for the gender balance for each country at the Europarliament since 1979 and I have found some inconsistencies in data (percentages not adding up to 100%). Since I would like to use this data in a journalistic work on gender balance, who should I address my inquiries to?

    Like

    Posted by Olaya AP | September 30, 2015, 12:05
  4. Yes super

    Like

    Posted by NANCY Jacques | September 30, 2015, 11:53
    • The original working paper floated the idea that the electoral system should be restricted to only allow open lists – it can currently be any type of list or STV. This didn’t make it into the final draft report.

      Like

      Posted by Andrew Turvey | October 2, 2015, 15:45
  5. Unless I have missed something, the paper does not tackle the anti-democratic nature of fixed party lists as employed in the UK and some other nations.

    Like

    Posted by Frank H Little | September 30, 2015, 11:26

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