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Foreign Minister Steinmeier comments on European Parliament’s adoption of report on electoral reform

12.11.2015

Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement today (12 November) after the plenary session of the European Parliament adopted the report on European electoral reform:

I am glad that the European Parliament yesterday embarked on reforming the European electoral system. This is an important step on the way to increasing the visibility of European elections and modernising electoral law.

A particularly significant element is the MEPs’ recommendation that binding minimum thresholds for entry into the European Parliament be established across Europe – at between 3 and 5% – as most EU member states already have.

At the last European parliamentary elections, the lack of minimum thresholds meant that a large number of isolated populists and extremists, from Germany and elsewhere, gained seats.

In its linguistic, cultural and social diversity, the EU depends on constructive MEPs who do not exclusively pursue their own extremist and destructive agendas. In the Council, I will be advocating that the European minimum thresholds be established in law.

Background information:

The Luxembourg Presidency can now swiftly launch Council consultations. The next step is a unanimous vote by the Council, in a special legislative process, to establish the relevant provisions. The approval of a majority of MEPs will be required. Finally, the reform will need to be ratified by the member states.

Foreign Minister Steinmeier called for European electoral law to be reformed very shortly after the last European parliamentary elections. His proposals, including the establishment of binding minimum thresholds across Europe, are explained in an article published by the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper. 

“Europe needs to stand up to extremism” – an article for the Frankfurter Rundschau by Frank-Walter Steinmeier (2 July 2014)

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