The purpose of the updated electoral law is to boost EU citizens’ participation in the European elections and enhance the European character of the procedure. The new measures were endorsed by 397 votes to 207 against, with 62 abstentions. Among the new provisions, Parliament approved a proposal to introduce a mandatory threshold for constituencies with more than 35 seats. This threshold must not go below 2% and not exceed 5% of the votes cast. The new rule will also apply to single-constituency member states with more than 35 seats. Of the EU countries with more than 35 seats, all except Spain and Germany have a statutory electoral threshold for the EU elections. These two countries will now have to comply with the new obligation and introduce a threshold in time for the European elections in 2024, at the latest.
Parliament’s co-rapporteur Danuta Maria Hübner (EPP, PL) said: “The reform of the European electoral law is a big success and an achievement for the European Parliament. It will make the elections more accessible to millions of citizens and make the way they are prepared and run more transparent. In addition, measures against double voting and a minimum deadline for establishing electoral lists have been introduced. These measures will reinforce transparency and citizens’ trust in the elections.”
Parliament’s co-rapporteur Jo Leinen (S&D, DE) said: “The new law will provide citizens with more options to take part in the European elections, not only by introducing the possibility of postal and electronic voting, but also by encouraging Member States to allow their citizens living in non-EU countries to vote. Finally, with the new rules, citizens will be more aware of the link between national parties and candidates running in the elections and their affiliation to a European political party. This is an important provision that raises awareness of the European nature of the election.”