A single European Parliament election could become a reality in a few years’ time with MEPs kicking off reforms that could see major changes to the 27 individual MEP elections.
On Tuesday, the Parliament adopted a legislative initiative report that seeks to overhaul the rules for the European election.
Under the system devised by MEPs, each voter would have two votes: one to elect MEPs in their national constituencies, and one in an EU-wide constituency, composed of 28 additional seats.
In order to ensure balanced geographical representation within these lists, member states would be divided into three groups depending on the size of their population. The lists would be filled with candidates coming from these groups in a proportional way.
If the reforms pass, the EU-wide lists of candidates should be submitted by European electoral entities, such as coalitions of national political parties and/or national associations of voters or political parties.
The Parliament also aims to tackle gender inequality, highlighting that despite an improvement in the last elections, some Member States were not successful in electing a female MEP. They proposed mandatory “zipped lists” – which means alternating between male and female candidates – or quotas, without infringing on non-binary individuals’ rights.
A number of other proposals were included in the draft, including the following:
- 9th May to be established as the common European election day;
- The right to stand for election for Europeans over the age of 18;
- A minimum electoral threshold of 3.5% to be compulsory for constituencies of 60 seats or more;
- Equal access to elections for all, including those with disabilities and the option of postal voting;
- The right for citizens to vote for the President of the Commission in a “lead candidate” system through the EU-wide lists.
Ensuring compliance with the new rules and overseeing the process would be in the hands of a new European Electoral Authority.
As established in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the Parliament’s legislative initiative would need to be approved unanimously by the Council.
After this, it would then come back to the Parliament so that MEPs can give their consent, before being approved by all member states in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.
Negotiations with the Council will commence when the member states adopt their position.
PL MEP Cyrus Engerer spoke briefly about this reform at the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday, noting that citizens had gone to the Parliament demanding these sorts of changes last week.
“Having a European demos strengthens each member state because we are so much stronger when we are together,” Engerer said
This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
What do you think about these reforms?