Based on a November 2015 Parliament initiative, the recent amendments to the 1976 Electoral Act, adopted by Council decision of 13 July 2018, include a measure on thresholds. The new rules set an obligatory threshold in certain cases for the allocation of seats. At national level, this threshold may not exceed 5 % of valid votes cast.
Moreover, Member States in which the list system is used shall set a minimum threshold for the allocation of seats for constituencies which comprise more than 35 seats. This threshold shall not be lower than 2 %, and shall not exceed 5 % of the valid votes cast in the constituency concerned, including a single-constituency Member State.
In practice, this provision concerns only the largest Member States. Member States will have to comply with this obligation at the latest in time for the arliament’s election in 2024.
NB: There is currently no electoral threshold for EP elections in Germany. This is due to a 2014 German Federal Constitutional Court decision that declared the 3 % electoral threshold unconstitutional.
Reform of the Electoral Law of the European Union: European Added Value Assessment accompanying the legislative own-initiative report, EPRS, 2015.
Reform of the Electoral Law of the EU, Legislative Train Schedule, European Parliament, 2018.