Members' Research Service By / May 2, 2022

Towards new rules for European elections? [EU Legislation in Progress]

The current rules applicable to the election of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) result from a combination of the common principles established in the 1976 European Electoral Act (1976 Act), as amended by Council Decision 2002/772/EC,Euratom, and the different national rules implementing those principles.

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Written by Maria Diaz Crego (1st edition).

During the May I plenary session, Parliament is expected to vote on a legislative-initiative report 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. Since the first European elections in 1979, the rules applying to the election of MEPs combine the common principles established in the European Electoral Act, as modified in 2002, and the different national rules implementing them. As a result, important elements of the electoral procedure remain in the hands of the national legislatures and there is no harmonisation across the Member States.

Following the proposals in Parliament’s (26 November 2020) resolution on stocktaking of European elections, the report proposes to further harmonise the rules applicable to European elections in areas such as the age for voting or standing as a candidate; postal voting; 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 report proposes to establish a common electoral system and procedure for the election of 28 MEPs in a Union-wide constituency comprising the territory of all the Member States. Once finalised by Parliament, the proposal is transmitted to the Council for its adoption, with the EP required to consent to the final text.

Versions

Proposal for a Council Regulation on the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage, repealing Council Decision (76/787/ECSC, EEC, Euratom) and the Act concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage annexed to that decision
Committee responsible:Constitutional Affairs (AFCO)A9-0083/2022
4.4.2022
Rapporteur:Domènec Ruiz Devesa (S&D, Spain)2020/2220(INL)
Shadow rapporteurs:Sven Simon (EPP, Germany
Guy Verhofstadt (Renew, Belgium)
Damian Boeselager (Greens/EFA, Germany)
Gerolf Annemans (ID, Belgium)
Angel Dzhambazki (ECR, Bulgaria)
Leila Chaibi (The Left, France)
Special legislative procedure
(Legislative initiative from
Parliament; unanimity in
Council; Parliament’s consent;
approval by all Member States)
Next steps expected: Vote on the legislative initiative in plenary

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