LISTEN WITH READSPEAKER
European elections: citizens will be able to stand as candidates in
another EU country more easily
It will now be easier for EU citizens living in another Member State to
stand as candidates in the 2014 European Parliament elections, following a vote
on a European Commission proposal in the European Parliament today.
Members of the European Parliament voted in their plenary session today
with an overwhelming majority (618 votes in favour, 23 votes against and 14
abstentions) to approve the proposal.
The draft law aims to simplify the procedure for non-national EU
citizens to stand as candidates for the European Parliament by amending the
existing rules (Directive 93/109/EC).
It is one the Commission’s initiatives to promote and facilitate
participation in the European elections.
Following agreement by the European Parliament, the proposal is now
expected to be adopted by the Council before the end of 2012.
"Taking part in the European elections is one of the most important
ways for citizens to make their voice heard in the EU," said Vice-President
Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner.
“Every EU citizen has the right to vote or stand as a candidate in
European elections, whether they live in their own country or in another EU
The reform we have put on the table makes it easier for those EU
citizens exercising their right to live anywhere in the Union to also exercise
their democratic rights in European elections."
In its 2010 EU Citizenship Report, the Commission raised the issue of
steadily declining turnout in the European elections and the need to facilitate
the participation of EU citizens in the elections (IP/10/1390).
Simplifying procedures for non-national EU citizens to stand as
candidates in their Member State of residence is one way of addressing this
The Commission is also working with Member States to ensure that EU
citizens residing in an EU Member State other than their own can participate in
European elections under the same conditions as national citizens, in line with
EU law (Action 18 of the EU Citizenship Report).
Directive 93/109/EC sets out arrangements to enable EU citizens to make
use of their right to vote or stand as a candidate in elections to the European
Parliament in the EU Member State they live in.
In 2006, the European Commission proposed to amend this directive to
simplify the procedure for those candidates standing in another Member State to
their own and to reform the mechanism to prevent double voting in European
Because Member States were unable to agree unanimously on the
arrangements concerning double voting, negotiations on the proposal had been
suspended in 2008.
On the initiative of the Commission, discussions were re-launched in
October 2011 focusing on the main aspect of the proposal: simplification of the
procedures for non-national EU citizens to stand as candidates.
Namely, candidates would no longer be obliged to return to their home
Member State to obtain a certificate stating that they are not deprived of their
right to stand as a candidate.
Instead, when applying to stand as a candidate in their Member State of
residence they would only be required to provide a declaration in that sense and
the burden of the proof would be on the Member State of residence's electoral
Agreement was reached in the Council (at COREPER level) and the
European Parliament is now being consulted again (having already been consulted
in its resolution on the initial proposal in 2007).